'The Strongest' Stripped of 2004 Bolivian Championship Title

LA PAZ (Reuters) - The Strongest have been stripped of Bolivia's 2004 Clausura title for wrongly fielding Argentine goalkeeper Marcelo Robledo as a Bolivian national last year.

The Bolivian Football Federation (FBF) issued a statement confirming that the La Paz team has been deducted eight points and that runners-up Oriente Petrolero will be awarded the 2004 title.

'The Strongest are no longer our champions. This is going to be very complicated to sort out because it is not possible to just change the teams that are playing in the current Libertadores Cup' said Mauricio Mendez president of Bolivia's Professional Football League.

The implications of the ruling for the line-up of Bolivian clubs in South America's equivalent of Europe's Champions League remain unclear.

The loss of eight points would force The Strongest back into sixth place in the Clausura standings and push Oriente into the frame.

The Strongest played normally in the Libertadores Cup on Thursday night drawing 3-3 with Sao Paulo in a Group Three game.

Neither the FBF nor the South American Football Confederation (CSF) have yet commented on the implications of the decision for the Libertadores Cup.

Mendez suggested that a decision by the FBF to withdraw The Strongest would imply a three-year suspension from the South American tournament.

Robledo arrived at The Strongest after spells with Tarija and Aurora but his claims of Bolivian parentage proved to be false.

The Strongest clinched the 2004 title in December beating Oriente on penalties in the final playoff.

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