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FOOTBALL

Sion coach steps down as club’s crisis deepens

Frenchman Laurent Roussey on Monday announced his resignation as coach of Swiss outfit FC Sion following some virulent criticism of his efforts by chairman Christian Constantin, Sport Information news agency reported.

Roussey, who only took over from Bernard Challandes 14 months ago, stepped down a day after a 3-0 loss to Basel.

Sion have endured a nightmare of a season, not least becoming embroiled in legal conflicts which pitted them – unsuccessfully – against European governing body UEFA, who excluded them from the Europa League for violating FIFA transfer regulations.

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) backed UEFA in the contretemps while a Swiss civil case brought by the club has been shelved by Swiss prosecutors.

The row erupted after the club, on whom FIFA imposed a 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 during a Europa League play-off tie against Celtic and were kicked out of the competition.

Sion in addition were docked 36 points as a punishment.

That sanction would have meant relegation but Neuchatel Xamax were expelled from the top flight after 18 games for going bankrupt.

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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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