BFC Sion, docked 36 points this
season after dragging UEFA into a complex legal battle, made
sure of staying in Switzerland's top flight by winning a
relegation play-off on Monday.
The controversial club lost the second leg 1-0 away to
second division runners-up Aarau but held out comfortably for a
3-1 aggregate win.
Sion would almost certainly have finished bottom of the
table after the penalty but were saved when Neuchatel Xamax were
kicked out of the league in January for a series of financial
irregularities under Russian-born owner Bulat Chagaev.
Neuchatel officially finished bottom of the 10-team
standings, the only direct relegation spot, giving Sion ninth
place and the chance of a play-off.
There was still controversy as Aarau protested over the
presence of Sion's Serey Die, even though he was handed an
eight-match ban two weeks ago for slapping a ball boy in the
The Ivorian appealed the decision and, under the competition
rules, was allowed to continue playing until the hearing takes
place, which might not be until next season.
Sion were kicked out of the Europa League this season for
fielding players they had signed while subject to a FIFA
The club's volatile president Christian Constantin then took
the case to a civil court, defying FIFA and UEFA statutes, and
Switzerland was threatened with an international ban unless
action was taken against Sion.
Having lost their case, Sion were deducted 36 points.
The match brought the curtain down on one of the most
tumultuous seasons Switzerland has experienced, with crowd
violence forcing a Grasshoppers-FC Zurich derby to be abandoned
and Servette Geneva also filing for bankruptcy.
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