Manchester United’s Champions League campaign could be back on track with the threat of expulsion hanging over FC Basel, following FIFA’s threat to ban the Swiss FA over the Europa League dispute involving Swiss club Sion.
Were Basel to be thrown out of the tournament, UEFA is expected to review which team would replace them in the knock out stage of the league. The Swiss Football association has been given until January 13 to comply with FIFA’s instructions on the registration ban on Sion. Failing that, the Swiss FA, and by inference, Basel, will face expulsion from the Champions League.
FIFA has issued an official statement on the impending ban, as follows: “Should this deadline not be respected, the Swiss FA will be automatically suspended from 14 January 2012 onwards. The executive committee decided to give a final deadline of 13 January to the Swiss FA to enforce the registration ban imposed on Sion … and to sanction the attitude of the club repeatedly trying to circumvent this decision in a legally abusive manner.”
With Manchester United having finished third in their Champions League group behind Basel and Benfica, UEFA has confirmed that the Old Trafford squad was in line to replace Basel in the knock out phase of the league. Aletrenatively, Bayern Munich who are due to face Basel in the round of 16, could be given a bye.
Meanwhile, United have been drawn to play Ajax, in the Europa League’s round of 32, are due to travel for the away encounter scheduled on February 16, 2012.
In a statement to Observer Sport, Rob Faulkner, Uefa’s communications head said: “Uefa is confident that the Swiss FA will comply with the Fifa request before the deadline of 13 January 2012 and before the Champions League first leg match between Basel and Bayern Munich on 22 February. Should this not be the case Uefa will review the situation nearer the time.”
The case against Swiss club Sion began when they signed six players while still under a transfer ban after being held guilty of unauthorised use of a player from an Egyptian club, in 2008.
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An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.