GENEVA (AP) – Chechen-owned club Neuchatel Xamax lost its license to play in the Swiss Football League on Wednesday, in a case that includes allegedly fake American bank documents.
If Xamax, which already faced being deducted eight points, fails to overturn the decision on appeal it will become the first club kicked out of the league in midseason since Servette went bankrupt in 2005.
''These are serious violations of its obligations by the club,'' the league said in a statement.
The league's disciplinary commission ruled that Xamax's owners failed to provide documents relating to a change of ownership, after businessman Bulat Chagaev took over last May.
The league also suspects Xamax of providing fraudulent bank letters intended to prove that Chagaev could finance the club.
According to documents published by Swiss media, letters appearing to come from the Bank of America ''confirmed'' that Chagaev had access to $35 million. Chagaev is at the center of Swiss criminal investigations into suspected fraud regarding the documents.
Xamax can appeal to the league within five days to try to recover its license.
It is next scheduled to play on Feb. 4 at home to Lausanne Sport when matches resume after the winter break.
Xamax is fourth in the 10-team top division, though would drop to ninth if the points deductions are confirmed on appeal.
The league took away points in two separate cases after Xamax failed to pay players' wages and social insurance during September and October.
Chagaev, who denies wrongdoing, has presided over a turbulent period since taking control of Xamax. He has fired four team coaches and former Brazil and Barcelona forward Sonny Anderson as sporting director.
Players threatened to go on strike because wage payments were late and club captain Stephane Besle was fired this month. Besle, who joined the club in 2005, left in tears after meeting with vice president Islam Satujev.
The club is being sued by several former employees and is reported to have debts of more than seven million Swiss francs ($7.4 million).