CAS sides with UEFA in Sion ruling

December 16, 2011

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld UEFA’s decision to remove FC Sion from the Europa League after the side fielded a number of ineligible players in their play-off match versus Celtic in August.

Having lost their appeal, the club must now pay UEFA 40,000 Swiss francs ($42,645) in legal costs.

FC Sion were originally removed from the tournament on September 2nd and had their appeal thrown out by the European association.

The Swiss club immediately launched another appeal through the civil courts in a move barred by FIFA and UEFA rules with the same lawyer who secured the landmark Bosman ruling in 1995, Jean-Marc Bosman.

Sion secured an injunction in their favour and UEFA was ordered to pay 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,066) for each day that the ruling was not honoured, but the Governing body announced it would only recognise the decision of the CAS.

A ruling in favour of FC Sion would have been a blow to football’s legal system but CAS ultimately back the establishment.

UEFA has responded to the ruling with relief, which came just a day before latest Europa League draw. “This respect of the rules has to be applied at all levels: of players, clubs, leagues, and in all competitions, in order to preserve what football stands for”.

This may not be the end of the matter, however. Sion will have 30 days upon CAS’ publication of the reasoning for the decision to appeal at Switzerland’s Supreme Court and overturn this latest verdict.

“The club will soon go to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. The CAS does not offer any guarantee of independence (in particular, how it chooses arbitrators) and violates several standards of national and international law”.

The club has also already issued a formal complaint to the European Commission.