BASEL, SWITZERLAND - MAY 29: FC Sion players celebrate with the trophy after the Swiss Cup final match between Neuchatel Xamax FC and FC Sion at the Sankt Jakob Stadium on May 29, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Sebastien Bozon/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
Sion has been docked 36 points for fielding ineligible player, avoiding a blanket ban on all Switzerland football that would have kept Basel out of the Champions League
With FIFA threatening a blanket ban on all Switzerland football, the Switzerland Football Association (SFV) have docked Sion 36 points for fielding ineligible players in 12 matches. Sion were already banned from the Europa League for fielding the player who were signed during a transfer embargo, but FIFA told the SFV that if they didn't take action against Sion by January 13 that the FA and every team in the country would be expelled from world football.
The 36 point deduction is the three points for every match the club fielded ineligible players that FIFA recommended. Most importantly, this will keep FC Basel from being banned from the UEFA Champions League after besting Manchester United to advance to the knockout stages. Had Basel been banned, it is likely that United would have replaced them in the round of 16, putting them back in the competition they were eliminated from earlier this month in Basel.
Sion have the right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Based on their statement following the announcement of the penalty it appears as if they will.
"FC Sion was informed by the press of the decision of the Central Committee of the Swiss Football Association to bow to the blackmail of FIFA and collaborate on the injustice facing the club, by pronouncing a deduction of 36 points in the Super League championship," read Sion's statement.
"This process condemns the team irreparably to relegation. This decision is mainly an intolerable affront to equity in sports, but it is no surprise to (Sion), who did not expect any courage on the part of the SFV in the face of FIFA.
"Considering this cowardly act of the SFV, FC Sion is even more determined to defend its interests and ethics in sport of football by compliance with court decisions, both civil and sports.''
Prior to the point deduction, Sion were third in Switzerland with 31 points. Now they sit at the bottom with a spectacular -5 points. At least Basel gets to stay in the Champions League though, something they deserve to do after topping the Red Devils. They will take on Bayern Munich in Basel on February 22 in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.