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FOOTBALL

Sion docked 36 points by Swiss FA in players row

The Swiss Football Association (ASF) on Friday docked FC Sion 36 points as punishment for breaching player recruitment rules.

FIFA had threatened to expel the body and all member clubs unless they took sanctions against Sion before January 13th.

The ASF said it was complying with the world football governing body’s demand by deducting 36 points after the club fielded at least one of six non-eligible players in a total of 12 matches — 10 Axpo Super League games and two Swiss Cup matches.

“This points deduction punishes the breach of rules by FC Sion … in respect of its illegitimate by-passing of a transfer ban imposed by FIFA and fielding potentially non-eligible players,” the body said in a statement.

The ASF said it had asked FIFA on Thursday to confirm that the ban would not come into force following its action but it had not had a response.

A statement issued by FIFA said it had taken note of the decision.

“FIFA will now analyse the documents and submit them to the emergency committee in early January for a decision,” it said.

The decision puts FC Sion at the bottom of the Super League with minus five points but the club could continue in the Swiss Cup.

The row erupted after the club, the subject of a FIFA-imposed transfer embargo over the signing of Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, proceeded to sign six players in the summer.

The club then fielded five of the six players during a Europa League play-off tie against Celtic earlier this year and were kicked out of the competition.

UEFA’s decision to expel them was later upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sion announced on Thursday it had launched a legal action in Zurich against FIFA, accusing the body of “unacceptable blackmail” for attempting to force the ASF to take action that would “run contrary to their own rules and to Swiss law”.

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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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