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FC Sion up for sale

Sion owner Gilbert Kadji has decided to sell the club

(Keystone Archive)

The African owner of FC Sion has confimed that he is looking to sell the Swiss top division club following a turbulent start to this season's league campaign.

Cameroonian businessman Gilbert Kadji took over at FC Sion in March 1999 promising to end the club's constant struggle against financial collapse.

But he has now admitted that his own struggles in canton Valais could soon be over. On Thursday he was due to meet with FIFA agent Jacky Mouyal in Paris to discuss a planned sale of the club.

"If Mouyal hands me a cheque for four million francs, then I'll be packing my bags," Kadji told a press conference on Wednesday.

Kadji has repeatedly denied reports that FC Sion's debts run into millions of francs. But having earlier estimated that the club owed just SFr 110,000, Kadji admitted at the press conference that it was more like one million. "That's about normal for Swiss football, though," he added.

Wealthy

The heir to a wealthy Cameroonian brewing business, Kadji studied in Lausanne and began his sporting connections with Switzerland by playing basketball in the country's second division.

Upon his return to Switzerland as the new owner of FC Sion, Kadji was praised by many as the club's new saviour, set to restore the fortunes of a team which had come close to bankruptcy twice in the 1990s.

"Football teams must be run like a business," Kadji said at the time. "Clear sporting and financial targets are necessary."

Financial difficulties

In sporting terms, Sion appear to be well on target this season, but the old financial difficulties and a series of bizarre developments off the pitch have continued to dog the club.

In August Swiss football league officials announced that they would be deducting seven league points from the club, following an apparent failure to meet licence obligations.

That decision has since been overruled by the league's appeals court, but Sion have been warned that they could still be penalised over the alleged concealment of the club's financial situation.

In an unrelated matter, Sion have already been deducted three league points, after it was discovered that manager Laurent Roussey had fielded too many foreign players during a match in late August.

With Kadji now looking to make his exit, and a new chapter in the club's history seemingly about to being, the fans can at least reflect that there's barely a dull moment supporting FC Sion.

by Mark Ledsom


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