Sion slammed with 36-point deduction

Sion slammed with 36-point deduction

Sion slammed with 36-point deduction

Swiss Football Association (SFV) spokesperson Marco Von Ah holds documents on the FC Sion during a news conference where he announces a decision on the club. REUTERS photo

Defiant Swiss club Sion has had 36 points deducted for fielding ineligible players in the league, the country’s FA (SFV) said on Dec. 30.

The SFV’s decision came two weeks after FIFA threatened to suspend Switzerland if Sion was not punished for fielding six players who were signed in the summer when the club was subject to a transfer ban.

Sion had also defied FIFA and UEFA statutes by taking its case to the civil courts, at one stage forcing UEFA president Michel Platini to give explanations to a Swiss prosecutor.

“This points deduction is to punish the illegal behavior of FC Sion, also contrary to the statutes and rules, by illegitimately getting around the transfer ban imposed by FIFA and fielding non-eligible players,” the SFV said in a statement.

FIFA had given the SFV a deadline of Jan. 13 to follow its instructions or face a ban which would also result in Basel being expelled from the Champions League.

The SFV said it had deducted three points for each of the 12 games in which Sion had fielded any of the six players, leaving the team bottom of the league with minus five points and almost certainly condemning the team relegation. However, it stopped short of FIFA’s demand that Sion be punished with 3-0 defeats, saying this would have resulted in other teams being awarded points.

The case began when Sion signed Stefan Glarner, Jose Goncalves, Mario Mutsch, Pascal Feindouno, Billy Ketkeophomphone and Gabri despite being banned after FIFA found the club guilty of poaching a player from an Egyptian club in 2008.

The six players took their case to a civil court in Valais, which ruled they could play, and Sion subsequently fielded them in the league. Some of the players also appeared in a Europa League qualifying tie against Celtic. Sion won the tie but were expelled from the competition by UEFA.

Sion then obtained an injunction at another court in Vaud, ordering UEFA to reinstate the club to the competition. However, this injunction referred the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which on Thursday ruled in favor of UEFA.