Bloomberg News

Swiss Team Sion Docked 36 Points for Ineligible Players

December 30, 2011

(Adds Sion statement in sixth, seventh paragraphs)

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Switzerland’s soccer federation docked FC Sion 36 points following an ultimatum from the sport’s governing body that it penalize the team for fielding ineligible players or find itself banned.

The Swiss Football Association said it made the deduction based on a formula demanded by FIFA that Sion lose three points for every game it played while using six players it signed while under a transfer ban for breaching regulations in 2009.

If the Swiss body hadn’t sanctioned Sion, it would have been “automatically suspended by FIFA from Jan. 14,” the federation said in a statement on its website.

Before today’s decision, the Swiss national team and all the country’s qualifiers in European club competitions like Basel, which eliminated Manchester United at the group stages of the Champions League, faced bans.

“The Swiss F.A. asks FIFA today to confirm that the suspension won’t now come into force,” the organization said in its statement. FIFA said it will look at the matter again in early January.

Sion labeled the decision “cowardly” and said the Swiss federation had “bowed to the blackmail of FIFA” and “collaborated” in an injustice.

“This process virtually condemns the club to relegation,” the team said in a statement on its website.

Sion originally obtained an order from a Swiss court requesting its reinstatement to the Europa League after it was banned for using five of the six players in a playoff victory over Scotland’s Celtic. The club also lodged several appeals in the courts before taking its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which this month upheld European soccer body UEFA’s decision.

Sion was given the transfer embargo after it broke rules in signing Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary two years ago. The points penalty relates to its fielding offseason recruits Stefan Glarner, Pascal Feindouno, José Julio Gomes Gonçalves, Billy Ketkeophomphone, Mario Mutsch and Gabriel Garcia de la Tore in 10 league matches and two cup games.

The deduction drops Sion from third down to last place in the 10-team Swiss Super League with minus-5 points. Sion is also pursuing a case in a Zurich court against FIFA, arguing its demands are contrary to Swiss law. The club could also dispute the points penalty in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

--Editors: Bob Bensch, Michael Sillup.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in London at tpanja@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.


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