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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Sion chief banned for 2-1/2 years for attack

BERN, July 4 (Reuters) - The president of Swiss cup winners FC Sion has been banned from all soccer activities for 2-1/2 years after he attacked a linesman in December 2004.

The Swiss Football Association said it was forbidding any of its clubs from dealing with Christian Constantin during the 30-month period 'with the consequence that Constantin will not be able to act as Sion president during the length of the ban'.

The association said in a statement on Tuesday it had also fined Constantin 5,000 Swiss francs.

A criminal court in Lucerne has already handed Constantin a six-week suspended sentence for his actions following a 2-2 draw with Kriens.

The court found that Constantin had deliberately tripped referee Markus von Kaenel as he ran from the pitch pursued by Sion fans angry at his decision to award the home side a stoppage time penalty.

Constantin then kicked linesman Jose Antonio Gonzalez in the groin, rendering him unconscious for around five minutes.

The football association said the ban on Constantin would be subject to the outcome of an appeal which the Sion president is bringing against the Lucerne court's verdict.

Sion were surprise winners of the Swiss Cup, beating Young Boys Bern to become the first Swiss club from outside the top division to win the final. They also celebrated promotion to the top flight through the play-offs last season.