Twente banned from Europe for 3 years over investment deal

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch soccer association banned FC Twente from European competition for three years on Tuesday as punishment for "deliberately misleading" the body about a deal to sell player transfer fee rights to an outside investor.

The Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) added that Twente's professional license will be revoked if it fails to fully cooperate with an independent investigation into the club's structure, and the club will be fined 45,250 euros ($49,400).

Twente said it will not appeal the sanctions. It said they "hit hard at the heart of our club."

The sanctions come in the middle of a terrible season on and off the pitch for Twente. Winner of its only Eredivisie title in 2010, Twente is currently 16th in the 18-team top flight.

The federation said the punishment follows Twente's failure to reveal full details of a third-party ownership contract with Malta-based Doyen Sports Investments.

FIFA has banned third-party ownership as a threat to the game's integrity because investors force transfers to make a profit.

The Football Leaks website last month published a contract between Twente and Doyen in which Doyen agreed to pay Twente 5 million euros ($5.3 million) for between 10 and 50 percent of the transfer fee rights for seven players. The deal was signed in 2014, before FIFA outlawed third-party ownership.

The KNVB said the sanctions were imposed by its licensing committee. The association also is sending Twente's dealings with Doyen Sports to the KNVB prosecutor and to FIFA.

"They have to judge whether the contract between FC Twente and Doyen Sports breaches national or international football rules," the KNVB said.

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