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FOOTBALL

FC Sion drop dispute against Swiss league

Swiss side Sion announced on Monday they have withdrawn their appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the Swiss Football League in a dispute over the eligibity of new players.

The Swiss club said they withdrew the appeal after the league confirmed that their six new summer recruits will be allowed to play, in line with a court order.

"Having received confirmation that it can add its new recruits to the line-up, FC Sion has withdrawn its appeal from CAS," said the club.

However, Sion remain excluded from the Europa League after UEFA found they fielded ineligible players in a qualifying match with Scottish side Celtic, who were promoted to the competition in their place.

The club have taken the case before several Swiss courts, with a regional court in the Canton of Vaud expected to deliver their verdict this week.

In July, the Swiss Football League had said that Sion's six new players were ineligible for the competition.

But the league reversed its decision after a civil court on August 3rd ordered it to reconsider its initial position and to allow the new signings to play.

After hearing both parties, the civil court in Martigny, Valais canton in September confirmed the verdict and rapped the league for the "anarchy" that had arisen due to poor management of the case.

The Swiss league subsequently authorised the new signings to play in a letter dated September 30th, leading Sion to withdraw their appeal to world sport's top court CAS.

However, in a statement issued late on Monday, the league said that while it has allowed the players to participate in the local league competition, they are "not qualified for the Swiss Football League as indicated by certain sources."

"For the qualification of non-amateur players, only the eligibility commission of the SFL has the statutory competence," it said.

The league said that it was simply abiding by the Martigny court order in allowing the players to participate in the competition.

It added that it will file an appeal in coming days against the Martigny court decision.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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