Switzerland warned over Sion transfer ban

Reuters

Mon, 15 Aug 19:24:00 2011

Switzerland has been warned that it must enforce FIFA statutes after first division Sion were allowed to field their new signings at the weekend despite being subject to a transfer ban.

Sion signed six new players during the close season but had been unable to use them initially as the Swiss Football League enforced the ban imposed by FIFA in 2009.

The Swiss League backed down at the weekend after the players took their case to a civil court in Martigny which said they were entitled to play.

Three of the players -- Mario Mutsch, Guinea midfielder Pascal Feindouno and former Barcelona player Gabri - were fielded in the 2-2 draw with FC Lucerne at the weekend.

FIFA statutes ban any football-related disputes from being taken to the courts and federations which fail to enforce this can ultimately be suspended.

"FIFA and UEFA, in a letter sent on 10 August, underlined the strict application of the...regulations and informed the Swiss Football Association that they are expected to comply with them and to take the necessary measures to respect them," said Switzerland-based FIFA in a statement.

"FIFA does not put any pressure on the Swiss Football Association but, jointly with UEFA, only refers to existing regulations."

Before its ruling last week, the Swiss League admitted it had been put "in a very difficult situation" by the conflicting orders.

Sion are due to face Scottish side Celtic in a Europa League qualifying tie on Thursday.

The club was banned from signing players for two transfer periods, starting with the 2010/11 season, after FIFA ruled it had been guilty of inducing Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary to break his contract with Cairo-based club Al Ahli in 2008.

Sion say they have already served the ban but FIFA say it runs until the end of this year.

It is not clear whether Sion, who unsuccessfully appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), were confused over the ban or whether fiery president Christian Constantin was acting in defiance of FIFA when the signings were made.

Constantin had previously threatened to boycott away matches if the ban was not lifted by the league.

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