Benfica vow to fight corruption charges which could see them banned from Champions League for three years

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Benfica vow to fight corruption charges which could see them banned from Champions League for three years

BENFICA have vowed to fight corruption charges which could lead to the club being banned from Champions League football for THREE years.

The Lisbon attorney general’s office says it is charging the Portuguese giants with alleged attempts to gain access to magistrates’ investigations involving the club or its league rivals.

Portugal's most successful club Benfica face a three-year ban over corruption chargesPortugal’s most successful club Benfica face a three-year ban over corruption chargesEPA

Benfica are accused of having committed 30 crimes including active corruption, misdemeanour and false information.

Calls have now been made for the two-time European champions to be banned from all competitions for a period between six months and three years.

A judge must decide whether evidence is strong enough to take the case to trial.

However, a verdict could take years in the notoriously slow Portuguese legal system.

Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira has vowed to fight corruption chargesBenfica president Luis Filipe Vieira has vowed to fight corruption chargesEPA Benfica won the Portuguese title for the 36th time in their history in 2016-17Benfica won the Portuguese title for the 36th time in their history in 2016-17Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The Portuguese football federation’s disciplinary committee says it has launched its own investigation after prosecutor’s charges became public.

Charges relate to the last two seasons.

Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira assured fans the club would fight to prove its innocence.

He said: “The accusation in no way changes the assurance already stated of total legality in the behaviour and performance of Benfica in this or any other process.

“There is no detailed conduct in the time, manner and place that relates Benfica to any of the crimes described.

“Benfica can not refuse to be indignant about the time, manner and form involved in this charge without any serious grounds justifying it.

Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira hit out at corruption chargesBenfica president Luis Filipe Vieira hit out at corruption chargesEPA Benfica are second in the Portuguese league and face Bayern Munich, Ajax and AEK Athens in the Champions League this seasonBenfica are second in the Portuguese league and face Bayern Munich, Ajax and AEK Athens in the Champions League this seasonAFP OR LICENSORS

“Benfica assures all Benifikis that it will continue to adamantly defend the reputation of Benfica, which will cooperate with the judicial system and hopes to demonstrate its innocence in this process or in others where it has been unfounded.

“Benfica reminds the Benifikis that to date all administrative and judicial decisions of a definitive nature have been favourable to us and expressly stated the lawfulness of our conduct.”

Benfica, who are second in the table, finished runners up in the Portuguese league last season and have won the division a record 36 times in their history.

They kick off their Champions League campaign against Bayern Munich on September 19, before facing AEK Athens and Ajax.

In 1961 and 1962 they beat Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively in the European Cup final.

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