Platini to meet prosecutor over FC Sion dispute

AP, Friday 23 Sep 2011

UEFA President Michel Platini is preparing to be interviewed by a Swiss criminal prosecutor to explain why FC Sion was expelled from the Europa League

Michel Platini
UEFA President Michel Platini

UEFA said Friday that Platini would respond to a challenge leveled by Sion, which is fighting national and international football authorities on several legal fronts after fielding players it signed in the offseason in apparent breach of a FIFA transfer ban.

Sion president Christian Constantin filed a criminal complaint in UEFA’s home canton (state) of Vaud after the European football authority ignored a civil court ruling last week that suggested his club should be reinstated.

“We are happy that Michel Platini should go and meet the Vaud prosecutor and explain UEFA’s position,” UEFA said in a statement.

UEFA could not confirm Sion claims that Platini and his general secretary Gianni Infantino must be interviewed in person on Oct. 19. The maximum penalty would be a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs ($11,000).

Also Friday, Sion learned details that its next—but likely not last— appearance at the Court of Arbitration for Sport will be next week.

CAS said it will hear Sion’s parent company’s appeal next Wednesday against a Swiss league ruling to block registrations for its six new players at the center of the dispute.

Sion has said it will launch a second challenge at CAS when UEFA provides the club with detailed reasons for the Europa League exclusion. UEFA dismissed Sion’s appeal last week and reinstated Celtic after the Scottish club protested that it lost in the playoff round to a Sion team fielding ineligible players.

In another case, Sion and UEFA lawyers will meet in a Vaud civil court next Tuesday. Judges will examine the full evidence following the interim ruling, when UEFA was not represented in court, that Sion should regain its Europa League place.

UEFA’s appeals panel rejected that provisional measure and an emergency committee led by President Michel Platini insisted Celtic must play, and begin the group program against Atletico Madrid. The Spanish side won 2-0 and tops a group that also includes Udinese and Rennes.

UEFA and football’s world governing body FIFA argue that Sion flouts their rules each time it seeks justice at a non-sporting court.

However, Sion has secured favorable decisions in civil courts, including against the Swiss league. A judge’s interim judgment to qualify the players has been obeyed by the league pending the CAS verdict.

Sion’s opponents have filed protests when the six players have played in matches.

Sion is second in the league after beating Grasshoppers 2-0 on Thursday, with disputed players Pascal Feindouno and Mario Mutsch scoring the goals.

The legal saga began when Sion broke FIFA transfer rules by luring Egypt goalkeeper Essam el-Hadary, who broke his contract with Al-Ahly in 2008.

FIFA’s decision to impose a one-year transfer ban was upheld by CAS and Switzerland’s supreme court.

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