BERNE, April 29 (Reuters) - FC Basel, having twice refused
to accept the Swiss title in the last week, finally recognised
themselves as champions on Sunday after a 3-1 win over Lausanne
Both Basel and the Swiss League agreed on their respective
websites that the team were champions for the third time in a
row and the sixth in the last nine seasons.
The confusion over whether or not Basel had won the title
capped a chaotic season marred by court battles, hooliganism and
financial problems which led to Neuchatel Xamax being kicked out
of the league and Servette Geneva filing for bankruptcy.
Basel took an unassailable 16-point lead over FC Luzern last
weekend but would not accept the title because their rivals
could theoretically have won two points from a case they had
taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
On Saturday, Luzern drew 2-2 with Grasshoppers, meaning they
could no longer catch Basel even if they won the CAS case.
However, Basel again refused to celebrate on the grounds
that Sion could still catch them should they win an appeal
against the Swiss League's decision to deduct 36 points for
fielding ineligible players.
The confusion finally ended on Sunday when Basel's win over
Lausanne meant they could not be caught even if Sion won back
their 36 points.
"Basel are absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, definitively
the champions" said the website of 20 Minuten newspaper.
Alexander Frei scored twice taking his tally to 22 for the
season and Cameroon forward Jacques Zoua was also on target for
FC Basel in stoppage time.
Basel will take part in the qualifying competition for the
Champions League next season, Switzerland having lost the right
to an automatic place in the group stage.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Dave
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