Swiss football club FC Sion have filed a complaint against football’s world governing body, Fifa, with the Zurich public prosecutor.
The move, announced on the club’s website on Thursday, is the latest in a bitter struggle over Sion’s fielding of players whom Fifa has ruled to be ineligible. Fifa’s headquarters are in Zurich.
The complaint is a response to Fifa’s announcement on December 17 that it would suspend the Swiss Football Association on January 14 if it did not take action against Sion by deducting points they won against Swiss teams in games in which the disputed players were fielded.
If the suspension goes ahead, it will affect all branches of the Association. This includes not only the national team, but also FC Basel, who unexpectedly won a place in the knock-out rounds of the Champions League with a victory over Manchester United.
Sion accuse 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. It cites article 181 of the Swiss legal code, which covers coercion.
The origins of the conflict go 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.
Sion believe they have served the suspensions, and signed six new recruits in summer 2011. But Uefa, the European football governing body, disagreed, and excluded Sion from the Europa League competition.
The case has been going through the Swiss civil courts for several months – also a breach of football’s rules. Under the statutes of Fifa and Uefa, clubs are prohibited from using civil courts to rule on football disputes.
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