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Dec 30, 2011

Basel to stay in UCL after Sion ban

FC Basel remain in the Champions League and any hope of a reprieve for Manchester United is over after the Swiss Football Association (SFV) docked rebel club Sion 36 points for fielding ineligible players.

The SFV were threatened with expulsion from all competitions by world football's governing body FIFA if they failed to punish Sion, who were kicked out of the Europa League by UEFA earlier this season after fielding players they had signed during a transfer embargo.

FIFA told the SFV there would be a blanket ban on Swiss football if action was not taken by January 13. Sion have now been docked three points for each of the 12 Swiss league and cup matches any one of the six ineligible players appeared in. They had been third in the Swiss top flight with 31 points prior to the sanction.

Sion described the decision of the SFV as a "cowardly act''. The club have the right to appeal against the sanction in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and a statement released by the club following the SFV decision read as follows.

"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.

"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.''

The SFV said in a statement on their official website: "The central board of the SFV has withdrawn 36 points from Super League club FC Sion. The board has therefore met the requirements of FIFA from December 17, 2011."

FIFA had demanded on December 17 that "all matches in which the relevant players participated shall be declared forfeit or three points shall be deducted respectively".

Celtic were reinstated to the Europa League in August, and SIon have pursued a lengthy legal action in various Swiss courts against their ban, attended the Court of Abritration for Sport before FIFA became involved and made their threats.

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