Porto banned in bribery scandal

[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Portuguese champion Porto has been banned from the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League for allegedly bribing referees in the 2003-04 season.

The decision comes after a long investigation known as "Apito Dourado," or Golden Whistle, into alleged bribery in the Portuguese league.

Porto is accused of bribing referees in two matches in the 2003-04 season -- the year it won the Portuguese league and Champions League under Coach Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese league's disciplinary committee handed Porto a six-point penalty in the 2007-08 standings and fined Porto $234,000.

Porto did not appeal the penalty since it didn't affect the final standings -- it beat out Sporting by 14 points -- but it plans on appealing the UEFA ban issued on the basis that it broke its rules that ban "any activity aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of a match at national or international level."

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