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The Swiss professional footballers’ association (SAFP) regrets the decision of the Swiss league (SFL) to strip club Neuchâtel Xamax of its licence to play in championships organized by the league.


The SAFP regards the SFL’s withdrawal of the team’s licence as untimely and excessively harsh.


Xamax was kicked out of the Swiss League because it is suspected of falsifying a bank document produced as a financial guarantee. Before being banned last week, the club already had eight points deducted for irregularities in the payment of social security contributions and players’ wages.


SAFP President Lucien W. Valloni said, ‘The SAFP is not happy about the extremely harsh decision by the SFL to withdraw Neuchâtel Xamax’s licence with immediate effect, thus sabotaging the suspensive effect of an appeal.’


‘It is certainly true that the club is in arrears with wage payments, and that is unacceptable, but revoking its licence at the present time hits players in particular very hard.’


‘It is difficult to understand why a last chance has not been given to avoid the withdrawal of the licence, thus securing jobs and an intact championship. The SFL owed it to the players to make this last attempt at putting on the pressure, for the sake of solidarity.’


‘Clearly, revoking the licence like this means a lot of uncertainty for the players, about what’s going to happen to their employment contracts now that they have been let go by the club. Note well that, despite the failure of their wages to materialize, the players have always reacted to this difficult situation like absolutely professional sportsmen. They don’t deserve such a decision at this time.’


It’s also unclear how this decision is going to help Swiss football, if the championships are now to be continued with nine teams. The SAFP takes the view that other solutions must be sought in order to keep the game going, and certainly with ten teams, until the end of the season.


The SAFP is in any case ready to organize training for the Xamax players.The SAFP wants to form a team of free agents from the remaining players. It is also ready to play friendly games with this team in place of Xamax.


Valloni says, ‘It’s clear in any case that, in future, clubs will have to secure their players’ wages with a bank guarantee at the start of the season. In the end, a guarantee fund should be organized so that this can’t happen again in the future.’


‘Mechanisms must also be found that guarantee a termination of the championships if a licence is withdrawn, so that the game is transferred to another team by the end of the season or third parties are enabled to buy the club’s shares and secure its survival.’