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Sion face major penalty

The Swiss Football Association has yielded to the wishes of Fifa, football’s world governing body, and deducted 36 points from FC Sion.

The association announced the move on Friday – a day after the club announced that it had filed a complaint against Fifa with the Zurich public prosecutor.

The association said that its move was a response to Fifa’s threat to suspend Switzerland from world football.

Fifa had demanded that Sion be penalised by three points for every game in which ineligible players were fielded during the current season. Sion have now fallen from third to last place in Swiss football’s Axpo Super League.

“The Swiss Football Association has today demanded from Fifa confirmation that the suspension will not now come into effect,” the Association said in a statement. “Fifa’s answer is still being awaited.”

Fifa had set a punishment deadline of January 14, 2012 – after which all Swiss teams would have been banned from international play. This would have affected Basel, who are due to meet Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16 on February 22.

On Thursday, Sion accused Fifa of “unacceptable blackmail” in connection with this threat, saying it is trying to force the Association to contravene its own rules and violate Swiss legislation.

The origins of the conflict date back to February 2008 when Egyptian superstar goalkeeper Essam el-Hadary broke his contract with al-Ahly to move to Switzerland. Fifa judged the transfer illegal, and imposed two periods of inactivity on the club on the player market.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR