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FOOTBALL

Swiss club Xamax files for bankruptcy

Swiss football club Neuchatel Xamax, owned by Chechen businessman Bulat Chagaev, said on Thursday it has filed for bankruptcy.

The club’s board said in a statement it made the decision due to the withdrawal of the club’s licence and its financial situation.

“The board also decided to immediately release the players from their obligations,” it said.

Chagaev said in a separate statement he would submit an explanation for the decision to Geneva cantonal prosecutor Yves Bertossa.

Xamax was left out of this week’s Swiss Super League’s championship race due to Chagaev’s actions, the SFL said on January 18th.

Chagaev, 51, bought Xamax in May 2011 from its former president Sylvio Bernasconi, for an estimated 1.2 million francs (one million euros).

Among the accusations he faces are failing to pay his players for several months and not paying payroll taxes.

The disciplinary committee of the SFL also cited a probe into allegations Chagaev submitted a falsified bank document to prove his solvency during a bankruptcy trial.

The action was the latest in a series of actions taken by the football authorities against the club.

Last month, the SFL docked Xamax four points for breaches of licensing rules and reported the club to its disciplinary committee.

In November it imposed a fine of 20,000 francs for failing to provide “information and financial documents” following Chagaev’s takeover.

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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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