Sion loses transfer ban court case

Swiss club FC Sion sustained a major defeat Friday in its legal battles against football authorities over six players it signed despite a FIFA transfer ban.

A cantonal (state) court ruled in favor of FIFA and the Swiss Football League in an appeal case judgment that denies Sion’s players the right to be registered.

League president Thomas Grimm told The Associated Press that the verdict is a ”victory for not only the league, but FIFA and UEFA also.”

”The court has decided to reject the provisional measures which allowed the players to play,” Grimm said. ”It is a confirmation of our opinion that we should be very strong in this case.”

FIFA said the court in Sion overturned the interim decision ”in its entirety.”

The case had ”resulted in numerous further proceedings as well as uncertainty with regard to the fielding of the players in national and international football,” FIFA said in a statement.

Friday’s ruling also will be welcomed at UEFA, which is set to meet Sion at the Court of Arbitration for Sport next Thursday in a dispute over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League.

UEFA kicked Sion out of the competition because it selected some of the ineligible players to beat Celtic in the playoff round.

Sion’s persistence, typified by president Christian Constantin, on several legal fronts has threatened to cause havoc in the Swiss league and UEFA’s second-tier Europa League competition this season.

UEFA President Michel Platini was even required to visit a criminal prosecutor last month to explain why his organization had ignored an interim ruling by a Swiss civil court.

Football’s rules prohibit clubs and officials from seeking to solve disputes outside of the sport’s own judicial bodies.

Sion could now be stripped of results and points it gained in matches in which the six players – including Guinea international Pascal Feindouno and former Barcelona midfielder Gabri – have played.

Opponents have played matches under protest since August, as Sion rose to third in the table trailing leader FC Basel by five points.

”In my opinion it will be next week when we start looking at these matches,” Grimm said.

Sion noted that the court ruling made no mention of retroactive punishment.

”The results achieved up to now should therefore stand,” Sion said in a brief statement published on its website, which was relaunched Friday with the slogan ”club of legend.”

The dispute dates back to February 2008 when Sion lured Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary to break his contract with Al-Ahly and move to Switzerland.