Uefa will decide today whether or not Celtic will take FC Sion’s place in this year’s Europa League. The Scottish side faced Sion in two qualifying games under protest over their opponent’s alleged transfer embargo.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell is confident that Uefa will take the necessary action and be firm on the Swiss club. The European football governing body’s Control and Disciplinary Body meets at 4pm today to hear the case of the Swiss side’s apparent flouting of a transfer embargo.
The situation arose before Celtic were defeated on aggregate 3-1 over two legs of the Europa League final qualifying round by Sion. The Swiss side had previously been told by Fifa not to play any of several players they had bought during the previous transfer window. Sion had been handed a transfer ban as part of a punishment for inducing a player to break his contract to sign with them.
The normal penalty for doing so is an automatic forfeit of the game by a score of 3-0, meaning that Celtic would go into the lucrative Europa League group stages by an aggregate score of 6-0. They would then be in a group with top Italian side Udinese, French club Stade Rennais and old foes Atletico Madrid of Spain – matches worth “several millions” to Celtic as Lawwell admitted.
With both Uefa and Fifa based in Switzerland and Sion being a Swiss club, the fear among Celtic fans is that the governing bodies will give in to the local court.
Others fear that Uefa will postpone the punishment by letting Sion play in Europe this season and banning them for next season.
By Ryan Bailey, @ryanbaileysport