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New threat for FC Sion

Less than two weeks after being relegated from Switzerland's top football division for financial failings, FC Sion are facing a further drop.

At a National League meeting in Thun on Friday the struggling club were told that they had not yet satisfied the conditions required to play in the second division.

The club's Cameroonian president Gilbert Kadji now has until Tuesday evening to assure the league, in writing, that Sion have enough money to take part in next season's competition.

If Kadji cannot do so, the canton Valais club face relegation to the third division, with Locarno set to take their place in the second division.

"All the members of my committee would like to see Sion remaining in the second division," National League president Jean-Françoise Kurz said after Friday's meeting, "but I've reminded them that we have to treat all the clubs equally from now on."

At the start of the month, the National League announced that it was relegating Sion, Lugano and Lausanne because of their insufficient funds. Lugano appear to be in the worst state, with reported debts of around SFr18 million ($11.6 million).

The relegation of the three clubs had prompted some league members, notably FC Basel and Grasshoppers Zurich, to call for an early reduction of the top division to comprise just ten teams.

On Friday, though, that call was rejected, paving the way for Aarau, Lucerne and Delemont to join the 12-team top division at the expense of the three relegated sides.

The league has already agreed to reduce the top division to ten teams at the end of next season.

Friday's meeting also saw the finalisation of the new season's programme, which gets underway just three days after the end of the current World Cup finals.

On July 3 St Gallen and FC Zurich will kick off the new Swiss season at St Gallen's Espenmoos stadium. The two clubs are starting earlier than the rest of the league because of their involvement in Europe's Intertoto Cup competition.

The first round will be completed on the weekend of July 6-7 with defending champions FC Basel taking on Aarau. Wil and Thun, the two clubs who managed to win promotion under their own steam, begin their season away to Grasshoppers and Neuchâtel Xamax respectively.

swissinfo with agencies

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