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FIFA draw line under FC Sion row

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17:05 CET+01:00

Manchester United's distant hopes of being thrown a Champions League lifeline were shattered on Friday with the news that FIFA had decided not to take disciplinary action against the Swiss Football
Federation (ASF).

The sport's world governing body had threatened to suspend the ASF if it failed by January 13th to impose appropriate sanctions on member club FC Sion for breaking international rules on player transfers.

A FIFA statment said that the ASF had met the requirements on December 30th when they docked 36 league points from the team and that no further action against the Swiss football authorities would be necessary.

That closed the door on Manchester United who crashed out of the Champions League group stages after losing to Swiss side Basel in their final game.

Had FIFA suspended Swiss clubs from competition over the FC Sion case, Sir Alex Ferguson's side could have been reinstated to replace Basel in the last 16 of the competition.

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 responded angrily to the sanctions, saying the ASF had bowed to FIFA's "blackmail" and that the club had at no time acted illegally.

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