FIFA Threatens to Suspend Switzerland Unless Sanctions Placed on FC Sion

FIFA has threatened to suspend Switzerland from international soccer next month if its national federation does not enforce a transfer ban on club FC Sion.

The ban was imposed in 2009 after Sion broke regulations in signing goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. The club signed six new players last summer and used five of them in a Europa League playoff victory over Celtic, resulting in Sion being kicked out of the competition.

Sion originally obtained an order from a Swiss court requesting its re-instatement, which European soccer governing body UEFA rejected. The club also lodged several appeals in the courts before taking its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which this week upheld UEFA’s ruling.

FIFA told the Swiss Football Association it has until Jan. 13 to sanction the club or risk being suspended. Soccer’s ruling body said in a statement on its website that it set the deadline because of the “attitude of the club repeatedly trying to circumvent this decision in a legally abusive manner.”

FIFA said “all matches in which the relevant players participated shall be declared forfeit or three points shall be deducted respectively” and the Swiss F.A. “will be automatically suspended from 14 January 2012” if the deadline is not met.

“We are disappointed,” Swiss F.A. President Peter Gillieron said in comments on the federation’s website. “In every event, we will do everything we can to clean up this situation.”

A ban would mean Swiss club Basel would not be able to play Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16 and Switzerland’s national team would be barred from an exhibition game against Argentina in February.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

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

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