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Lucien Valloni, president of the Swiss footballers' association on the FC Sion case: ‘It is now clear that the image of Swiss football has suffered in the eyes of the football world, and in practice Swiss football as a whole has also been affected by the UEFA decision.

 

The Sion case has thereby become one affecting all Swiss football.

 

Now that many parties are involved, the first step is to list the actors involved in this matter, and with what motives, in order then to evaluate these motives in a second step.

  • The Swiss Football League is understandably interested in clearing up relationships regarding the ongoing championship. The Swiss Football League has systematically implemented the legally effective decisions of FIFA and the CAS.
  • For various reasons, the sporting adversaries of FC Sion see carrying on with the games under protest as an opportunity to gain a victory academically, without any real risk.
  • FC Sion believes it is in the right, specifically on the basis of the Mexès/AS Roma precedent, and is pulling out all the stops. This was known, and is not really surprising.
  • FIFA wants to see its legally effective decision and those of the CAS enforced, and evidently does not consider the Mexès/AS Roma case relevant.
  • UEFA wants to keep its competition free from unclear conditions and for this reason it is evidently in its own view making its own decisions.
  • The players want to play at all costs.
  • The CAS, which has to decide the question of whether FC Sion can rely on the Mexès/AS Roma CAS precedent, is taking all the time in the world to do so.

 

As a second step, therefore, it is now necessary to examine how the behaviour of the various actors in this matter is to be evaluated.

 

The Swiss Football League cannot be reproached. It first implemented the legally effective decision of FIFA and the CAS in the El Hadary matter. Accordingly, it correctly did not oppose the decision of the civil court with reference to the precautionary measures ordained and, as a precautionary measure, qualified the player.

 

FIFA wishes to enforce the legally effective decision, but has then correctly fallen into line with the decision of the civil court and granted international qualification. The fact that FIFA wishes to enforce its legally effective decision is logical and not unusual; but only if FIFA’s lawyers can with good reasons consider the Mexès/AS Roma precedent as not really relevant.'

 

 

'The sporting opponents (Swiss and international clubs) are really acting for purely egoistical though understandable motives. This is not unusual, was foreseeable and of course puts Sion under pressure.

 

In contrast to FIFA, UEFA does not appear from a distance to be taking account of the factual effect of the decision of the civil judge. With what reasons is unknown and remains to be seen.

 

The players were aware when they signed their contracts of employment that a prohibition on transfers had been pronounced against FC Sion. Under these circumstances, therefore, the interest of those players who have an interest in proper match operations should probably be given more importance than the right of the individually affected Sion player to the unhindered exercise of his occupation. They have played poker and counted on a swift and positive outcome. A swift decision has so far not been rendered, nor is a positive outcome anywhere near the horizon. They have seen recourse to the civil court as a last chance. Whether this was more than a Pyrrhic victory still has to be seen.

 

The behaviour of the CAS is, however, unreasonable and absolutely incomprehensible. The guiding decision is absolutely urgent for both the Swiss and the European game, because even in spite of the UEFA decision the last word has not yet been spoken. The fact that FC Sion will pull out all the stops was clear from the outset, nor could it have been hidden from the CAS (with its head office in Lausanne, in French-speaking Switzerland).

 

The CAS was furthermore established as an arbitration tribunal by FIFA in its statutes, in the hope that it would provide expertise, swiftness and more autonomy than the civil jurisdiction. If however in such essential questions the CAS evidently leaves the field to all the actors mentioned above on their own, and does not itself take a hand in the issue, but on the contrary leaves it in a state of uncertainty, we should not really be surprised if the parties take the view that no effective, i.e. here swift legal protection is to be obtained from the CAS, and for that reason turn to a civil court.

 

Not that having recourse to the civil court should be supported since, after all, the players’ union also wants an arbitration authority on football questions, with equal representation for players and management, to be introduced at Association level, but if such recourse is to be prevented in the future, it will be necessary to adopt more rapid decision-making mechanisms in such cases.

 

The Swiss players’ union will strive to attain this purpose. Decisions of such consequence must be taken by means of an expeditious procedure with the necessary procedural rights.'