Peru champions bottom and beset by bans

LIMA - Being bottom of Peru's first division is one of several problems besetting champions Universitario, including a four-match suspension for coach Juan Reynoso for insulting a referee.

Universitario have also been banned by the ADFP, which groups the 16 top-flight clubs, for favouring a different airline from the one which sponsors the championship and provides teams with air travel to matches.

Reynoso was suspended by the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) for insulting the referee in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by Sporting Cristal, who scored a controversial winner after a player appeared to handle the ball.

It was Universitario's third defeat in three matches in the league as they concentrate their efforts on the Libertadores Cup, the top South American club competition in which they finished runners-up in 1972.

"The U", as they are popularly known, said they would appeal against the ADFP suspension which will prevent them from playing Total Chalaco in a league game this weekend.

"We're not going to accept taking a step back on this," said the club's sporting director, former Peru defender German Leguia.

"We'll go to the federation (FPF) which is the highest body (in Peru). FIFA won't accept that a team should be removed from a championship," he told America Noticias.

The champions struck a deal with Star Peru to fly them to away matches and wore the airline's logo on their shirts in Tuesday's game. The ADFP has a deal with LAN Peru, a subsidiary of Chile's LAN.

Universitario midfielder Rainer Torres said: "I hope the appeal prospers because we want to play to regain our confidence and, at last, take our first points."