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Context of 'June 3, 2009: European Union Unemployment Rate at 21 Million'

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Harold Brown, a nuclear physicist and former secretary of defense under President Carter, warns of overconfidence regarding the ability of the US, and the world, to survive a nuclear holocaust, as many in the incoming Reagan administration seem to espouse (see Early 1981 and After). “The destruction of more than 100 million people in each of the United States, the Soviet Union, and the European nations could take place during the first half-hour of a nuclear war,” Brown writes. “Such a war would be a catastrophe not only indescribable but unimaginable.… It would be unlike anything that has taken place on this planet since human life began.” (Halloran 3/2008)

The European Union recognizes the independent states of Croatia and Slovenia. (US Department of State 12/6/1995)

The United States recognizes the states of Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia. The European Union, which has already recognized Croatia and Slovenia, recognizes Bosnia. (US Department of State 12/6/1995)

In December 2000, the US and Russia cosponsored a United Nations Security Council resolution requiring member states to “freeze without delay” the funds of those on a list of designated terrorists. The resolution passed, and the UN and European Union (EU) release the list on this day. It contains the names of five alleged al-Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden’s security coordinator, brother-in-law, and financial handler. Yet strangely, the US itself does not freeze the assets of these five leaders, and will only so one month after 9/11 (see October 12, 2001). (United Nations 3/8/2001; Levin and Meyer 10/15/2001) The Guardian will report after 9/11, “Members of Congress want to know why treasury officials charged with disrupting the finances of terrorists did not follow” the UN and EU. (Gillan 10/13/2001)

The European Union drops a competition probe into a transaction in which football club Real Madrid received hundreds of millions of Euros from the Madrid city council in return for its training ground (see (May 8, 2001) and March 3, 2004). The commission concludes that no state aid for Real was involved in the transaction and no government resources were transferred to it. (Sports Illustrated 11/9/2004)

Greece admits it joined the euro single currency in 2001 on the basis of figures that showed its budget deficit to be much lower than it really was. Eurozone states are expected to have deficits below 3 percent of gross domestic product, but revised data show Greece has exceeded that limit since 1999. Greek press reports suggest the country’s budget deficit in 1999 was 3.38 percent. The problem was discovered by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, when it visited Athens last week to examine Greece’s current budget figures. Greece had already said that its public deficit breached the European Union cap between 2000 and 2003, as the cost of hosting the 2004 summer Olympics reached €7bn. But Greece’s finance ministry had claimed that the country’s 1999 deficit, on the basis of which Greece was allowed to join the euro in 2001, was below the limit. “It has been proven that Greece’s budget deficit never fell below 3 percent since 1999,” finance minister George Alogoskoufis now admits. Katinka Barysch, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform, says the announcement will not be a surprise for Brussels insiders. “Quite a few member states did something similar because of the political imperative to join the euro as soon as possible. Greece has just gone a bit further,” she says. (BBC 11/15/2004)

FIFA and the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) sign a memorandum of understanding stating that FIFA and FIFPro have agreed to introduce FIFA’s proposed “6+5” regulations over the course of several seasons. Under the plan each club side would have to have six players qualified to represent the national association to which the club belonged at the start of each match. The other five and all the substitutes could then be foreigners. The plan is controversial because it is a clear breach of regulations on the free movement of labour set out in Article 39 of the Treaty of Rome, which governs the operation of the European Union. (Lynam 12/6/2006)

FIFA president Sepp Blatter makes a speech to the Soccerex conference in Dubai about a range of current topics. On the issue of video replays, he says he will never allow matches to be halted as long as he remains FIFA president. However, he remains open to goalline technology, provided it delivers an instant answer, and he thinks it may be ready for introduction at the Club World Championship in Tokyo in December 2007. Blatter also dicusses his “6+5” proposal to limit the number of foreigners clubs field. “We believe six plus five will give more incentive to young players,” says Blatter. “All the big clubs have youth departments but there is no chance for these players to play in the first team.… The big clubs with a lot of money can afford to buy the best players. They have 20, 25, sometimes 30 on their list but only 11 can play. What are the others doing? Waiting? Recuperating? Or taking away the chance for other teams to have a better starting eleven? What these rich clubs are doing is taking the best out of market, then not letting them play. Look at the results in some European leagues. Some clubs are already far away after a third of the season, the others can only play to avoid relegation, not for the title. Something is wrong about this.” Blatter also warns of foreign investors buying English clubs, saying: “England must be a very attractive league for investors to take over whole clubs. As long as they are promoting the game in a sensitive way, we are not concerned. But if they are arriving to take the best out of football, rather than to serve it, again something is wrong because when you have so much money, it leads to a distortion as far as the other clubs are concerned.” (Daily Mail 11/27/2006)

FIFA president Sepp Blatter gives an interview to the German magazine Kicker on a number of reforms for the world game. Blatter thinks that the football season should begin in late February and finish at the end of November, with the longer winter break being used for national team games. “I’ve just proposed to the clubs: play through the summer, make the season like the calendar year,” says Blatter. “This would leave enough time for players to recover and there could be blocks of three weeks of qualifying games in winter.” He claims, “This idea is supported by big European clubs.” In addition, in World Cup qualifying he wants more European groups with less teams qualifying from each group; this would lead to fewer games for national teams, which is what big clubs want. Blatter also expresses support for his “6+5” idea to limit the number of foreigners club teams field. “The ‘6 5’ is coming, for sure,” he says, although it is only to be applied in Europe. “First, it will bring a higher identification between clubs and fans. Second, it would raise the opportunities for talents. And third, the clubs’ finances would benefit if they take players from their own schools.” Such a rule is controversial, because it is contrary to well-established European Union regulations on the free movement of labour. Therefore, Blatter appeals to the EU to stay out of football, although he would like government help creating more transparency in financial structures in international football and its transfer market. Blatter also rejects calls for a salary cap. (Associated Press 12/4/2006)

The European Union (EU) says it will launch a full investigation into the British government’s nationalization and bailout of troubled mortgage lender Northern Rock. Under EU rules, public support can be allowed to stop firms from going bankrupt, but long-term government aid that is seen to undermine competition is not permitted. (BBC 8/5/2008)

On the eve of a crucial European Parliament vote on FIFA’s “6+5” rule to limit the number of foreigners fielded by football clubs, the organization’s president Sepp Blatter holds a roundtable with journalists to promote the regulation. Blatter says that the rule is intended to “protect minors, protect youth training, adapt the transfer system to today’s realities, and ensure tighter control over the actions of players’ agents.” In addition, it will help keep national teams strong and allow youth players to play for their original clubs. Blatter says the rule does not conflict with well-established European Union legislation on the free movement of labor, because “[c]lubs will still be free to take on as many foreign players as they want. When a match kicks off however, they will have to have six players on the pitch who are eligible for the national team of the country in question.” Blatter is critical of UEFA’s 4+4 “home-grown player rule,” as it “does not protect players who are eligible for the national team of the club in question,” and under this system “the richest clubs would merely have to buy players at an even younger age than they are currently doing.” He also points out that on average the five main European leagues (Germany, England, Spain, France, and Italy) already mostly comply with the “6+5” rule, so it would not make much difference to them anyway. Blatter claims that 80 percent of revenues generated by the Champions League go to the competing clubs, and that the “6+5” rule would lead to more equitable distribution, although the mechanism by which this would occur is unclear. Blatter acknowledges that there will be problems implementing the rule, but cites support from other sports organizations and says FIFA needs “to convince the world and the media.” (FIFA 5/7/2008) The European Parliament vote will go against the “6+5” rule 518 to 49 (see May 8, 2008).

The European Parliament votes 518 to 49 against allowing football authorities to implement the “6+5” proposal, which would limit the number of foreigners fielded by football clubs. The “6+5” rule was championed by FIFA, in particular its president Sepp Blatter (see November 27, 2006 and December 4, 2006). However, the parliament approves the “home-grown player rule” pur forward by UEFA. The “home-grown player rule” is different in that it is the country in which the player was trained, not his nationality that is decisive. Opposition to the “6+5” rule is grounded in the fact that it is in clear conflict with European Union legislation on the free movement of labour (see November 2, 2006). (Independent 5/9/2008)

Two European commissioners restate their opposition to FIFA’s “6+5” proposal to restrict the number of foreigners fielded by football teams. The statement is issued following a meeting of European sports ministers that FIFA attended. The opposition of Vladimir Spidla and Jan Figel, European commissioners for employment and education respectively, is grounded in the fact that the rule “is based on direct discrimination on the grounds of nationality, and is thus against one of the fundamental principles of EU law.” However, the two commissioners remain “open to discuss ways and means of bringing more balance to the game of football together with FIFA and other interested parties to find a solution that would be compatible with EU law.” Regarding a proposal made by football authorities to ban international transfers of players aged under 18, they have some sympathy for the idea, but “free movement of workers is a fundamental principle of the EU. And a proposal to ban all transfers of under-18s would, at first sight, appear to constitute indirect discrimination in the field of free movement of workers and could be disproportionate in light of the objectives pursued.” (European Commission 11/28/2008)

As more EU companies lay off workers, unemployment rises to its highest level in more than two years. The EU jobless rate rises from a revised 8.1 percent in December, and above the 7.3 percent figure in January 2008, according to a report from the BBC. Annualized inflation in the 16-nation area falls to 1.1 percent in January, its lowest in nearly a decade, down from 1.6 percent in the year to December 2008. According to EU officials, the EU has been in recession since September 2008. The latest unemployment and inflation figures increase pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to further cut interest rates in an effort to bolster the economy and bring inflation closer to its 2 percent target. The ECB trims rates by half a percentage point to 2 percent in January, the fourth reduction since September, when rates stood at 4.25 percent. “January’s rise in unemployment and further fall in core inflation support our view that ECB interest rates have much further to fall,” says Jennifer McKeown, an analyst at Capital Economics. “The downturn in the labor market, and indeed the wider economy, points to a further fall in core inflation in the coming months.” Unemployment among European Union nations is highest in Spain, at 14.8 percent, and lowest in the Netherlands, at 2.8 percent. (BBC 2/27/2009)

A report ordered by FIFA from the Institute for European Affairs (INEA) is published stating that FIFA’s “6+5” rule to limit the number of foreigners fielded by football clubs is not illegal under Europan Union law, despite repeated European Union statements to the contrary (see May 8, 2008 and November 28, 2008). “There is no conflict with European law,” INEA chairman Professor Jurgen Gramke tells a press conference. “The 6+5 rule does not impinge on the core area of the right to freedom of movement. The rule is merely a rule of the game declared in the general interest of sport in order to improve the sporting balance between clubs and associations.” The report says that, at worst, the 6+5 rule could constitute “indirect discrimination” because “it is not directly based on the nationality of professional players.” (Institute for European Affairs 10/24/2008 pdf file; Wilson 2/26/2009)

FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber hands down a ruling punishing the Swiss club FC Sion and its Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary over Al Hadary’s transfer from the Egyptian club Al Ahly in February 2008. The goalkeeper is banned for four months, starting from the next season, and Sion is ordered to pay Al Ahly a transfer fee of US$1.25 million and also prevented from registering new players for two transfer windows, i.e. more than a year. The move was illegal under FIFA regulations because El Hadary was under contract with Al Ahly and there was no agreement between the clubs. FC Sion says it will appeal the ruling. (BBC 6/2/2009; Court of Arbitration for Sport 6/1/2010 pdf file)

According to unemployment statistics compiled by Eurostat, the European Union unemployment rate has risen to 9.2 percent, its highest since September 1999, with 3.1 million jobs lost in April 2009, an increase of 556,000 from March. In the Eurozone, 396,000 jobs were shed and almost 15 million became unemployed. The lowest unemployment figures were in the Netherlands at 3.0 percent and Austria at 4.2 percent. The highest figures were in Spain at 18.1 percent, Latvia, 17.4 percent, and Lithuania, 16.8 percent. Eurostat is the Statistical Office of the European Communities located in Luxumbourg and is charged with providing statistics for comparisons between European countries and regions. The Eurozone is comprised of the 15 EU states that have adopted the euro and created a currency union. (MercoPress 6/3/2009; 6/3/2009; Rostom 6/3/2009)

The jobless rate in Britain climbs to its highest level since 1995, according to the Office of National Statistics in London. The number of people out of work hits 2.47 million, while unemployment claims rise to 1.61 million for the month of July. Data recently released by the statistics office indicate that unemployment through July rose to 7.9 percent, the most since 1996, compared to the European Union’s latest figure of 9.5 percent, 9.7 percent in the US, and 5.7 percent in Japan. Bank of England Governor Mervyn King says that even after the economy stops shrinking, households will continue feeling the recession’s pain, since “unemployment is either going to continue rising or remain high.” As much as £175 billion ($288 billion) is being printed to aid economic growth and avoid deflation. “If anything, the UK economy is only just emerging from recession, and this is a lagging indicator,” says economist Philip Shaw of London’s Investec Securities. “We’re looking at unemployment peaking towards the middle of next year. Things are likely to improve at a slow rate, but it’s likely to remain uncomfortable for a long time.” Employment minister Jim Knight tells BBC News: “Unemployment still remains a real problem for families up and down the country. We’ve got to keep the support going and not be tempted to celebrate the recovery.” In speaking on the recovery, Prime Minister Gordon Brown—up for re-election in 2010—says the economic rebound “is still fragile” and stimulus programs that boost the economy should be maintained. “There are no signs of recovery here,” Trades Union Congress General Secretary Brendan Barber says. “It might look rosier in city dealing rooms but, out in the real world, unemployment is the number one issue.” (O?Donnell 9/16/2009)

According to the US Labor Department, August jobless rates rise to record highs in California and Nevada; 27 other states see a rise in unemployment as well. Unemployment numbers climb to 12.2 percent in California and 13.2 percent in Nevada. With its unemployment rate rising to 15.2 percent in August, Michigan continues to lead all states, with Rhode Island rounding out the top four states with the highest unemployment since data collection began in 1976. Economists predict that the national unemployment rate will reach 10 percent in 2009, an indication that the recovery will not be led by consumers, although the job market is reportedly showing signs of stabilization, and economic growth may resume in the third quarter. States reporting at least 10 percent unemployment fell from 15 to 14 with Indiana’s rate dropping below the threshold. For a fourth consecutive month, joblessness in the District of Columbia exceeded 10 percent as well, rising from 10.6 percent to 11.1 percent. Nationally, unemployment climbed to a 26-year high, to 9.7 percent. According to Steven Cochrane, director of regional economics at Moody’s “There’s still a fair amount of weakness in some of the larger states. State finances are probably going to be among the last of all the various components of the broad economy to turn around.” Since the recession began in December 2007, the US economy has lost 6.9 million jobs. It is the largest national job loss since the Great Depression.
Jobless Benefits Claims - Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics says first-time unemployment claims have to drop by 100,000 to about 432,000 to be steady with company payrolls. He expects a reasonable decline in first-time claims by next spring. Initial claims categorize those filing their first week of unemployment benefits, while continuing claims reflect those filing each week until the end of their 26-week benefit year. Jobless figures generally do not include those who have moved to state or federal extensions, nor do the figures include those whose benefits have ended. (Hornan 9/18/2009; Yousuf 9/24/2009)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rules against the Swiss club FC Sion and its goalkeeper Essam El Hadary in a dispute over the player’s transfer from the Egyptian club Al Ahly two years ago. The decision confirms a ruling of FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (see April 16, 2009) that ordered compensation to be paid to Al Ahly for the transfer and banned Sion from signing new players for two transfer windows. Although the original ruling is altered in some minor ways, the transfer ban remains in force. (Court of Arbitration for Sport 6/1/2010 pdf file)

Real Mallorca appeals to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to reverse a recent decision banning the club from next season’s Europa League. The club was banned from European competition (see (July 22, 2010)) because it is currently in administration and not in compliance with UEFA’s financial guidelines (see (May 19, 2010)). At the same time as the appeal, Mallorca issues a statement pointing out that the ban will make its financial situation worse, as it would deprive the club “of a series of revenue in different concepts, such as ticketing, sponsorship, and income from the competition.” It adds, “Ethically and legally, RCD Mallorca believes reason is on their side and [the club] will not relent in the effort to show that he has earned the right to challenge the Europa League.” (Watts 7/26/2010)

The Swiss club FC Sion, which has been prohibited by the game’s ruling bodies from signing new players (see June 1, 2010), buys no new players during the winter transfer window. The only change the club makes during this period is that the player Didier Crettenand is given a new contract. (Swiss Football League 2011) However, the club will buy players during the next transfer window, breaching the transfer ban (see Summer 2011).

A federal Swiss court rejects appeals lodged by the club FC Sion and goalkeeper Essam El Hadary against decisions of FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Both FIFA and CAS had ruled that Sion and El Hadary had broken the rules over the player’s transfer from the Egyptian club Al Ahly to Switzerland in 2008 (see April 16, 2009 and June 1, 2010). As a result of the two rulings, compensation was to be paid to Al Ahly and Sion was banned from transfer activity for two transfer windows. As the appeals are rejected, the CAS ruling remains in force. (FIFA 1/19/2011) It is against FIFA’s statutes for a dispute to be brought before a civil court. (McGuire 8/16/2011)

FIFA reminds the Swiss club FC Sion that it will be under a transfer ban in the summer 2011 transfer window, according to a later interview with FIFA’s director of legal affairs Marco Villiger. (Villiger 9/30/2011) However, Sion will sign players in the window (see Summer 2011), leading to a dispute (see September 2, 2011).

FC Sion win the Swiss Cup, beating Neuchatel Xamax 2-0 in the final. The result means that Sion qualify for next year’s edition of the Europa League. (UEFA 5/29/2011) Sion are currently operating under a transfer ban imposed due to a rule breach (see April 16, 2009). As a result they were unable to sign new players during the winter break of this season (see January 2011).

The Swiss club FC Sion signs several new players, despite an apparent transfer ban. The new players are Guilherme Afonso (from Lugano), Pascal Feindouno (Monaco), Gabriel Garcia De La Torre (aka “Gabri,” Umm-Salal), Stefan Glarner (Thun), José Gonçalves (St. Gallen), Billy Ketkeophomphone (Strasbourg), and Mario Mutsch (Metz). (Swiss Football League 2011) The transfer ban was to last for two transfer windows (see April 16, 2009 and June 1, 2010). Sion signed several players the previous summer (see Summer 2010), but nobody arrived during the winter transfer window (see January 2011).

The qualification committee of the Swiss Football League rejects requests by FC Sion for the registration of six newly-signed players: Stefan Glarner, Pascal Feindouno, José Gonçalves, Gabriel Garcia De La Torre (a.k.a. “Gabri”), Billy Ketkeophomphone, and Mario Mutsch (see Summer 2011). This is due to a transfer ban imposed on Sion for a rule breach by FIFA (see April 16, 2009). (Swiss Football League 7/15/2011)

The appeal tribunal of the Swiss Football League rejects an appeal by FC Sion and six of its players against a decision of the league’s qualification committee, which refused to register the six (see July 15, 2011). The appeal tribunal finds that the qualification committee correctly decided to reject the applications to register the players because Sion was under a transfer ban. (Swiss Football League 7/29/2011) Sion will apply for a court order allowing the six to play, and will initially be successful (see August 3, 2011).

The Civil Court of Martigny and St. Maurice orders FIFA, the FIFA subsidiary Transfer Matching System GmbH, and the Swiss Football League to allow six FC Sion players to play with immediate effect. The players were signed during a transfer ban (see Summer 2011), so FIFA claims they cannot be fielded, and the Swiss Football League had ruled to this effect (see July 15, 2011 and July 29, 2011). However, the league’s rulings are now overturned. (FIFA 11/18/2011) Two days later, the Swiss Football League issues a statement saying that the players can be used until a further court ruling. (Swiss Football League 8/5/2011) The same judge will later affirm his ruling (see September 27, 2011), but it will be overturned by a higher court (see November 16, 2011).

The Swiss club FC Sion defeats the Scottish team Celtic to win a place in the group stages of the Europa League. The first game of the two-legged playoff tie finished 0-0 in Glasgow, but the Swiss win the return leg 3-1. (Press Association (London) 8/26/2011) UEFA will overturn the result as Sion fielded a number of ineligible players (see September 2, 2011), leading to a drawn-out legal dispute.

Two UEFA officials, president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino, say that the Swiss club FC Sion clearly breached a transfer ban imposed on it and that the club should not resort to civil courts. Sion used players signed while it was operating under the ban (see April 16, 2009) to win a Europa League playoff (see August 25, 2011). However, their opponents Celtic have now appealed to UEFA to overturn the result. Platini says that the players were fielded “in clear violation of the ban,” adding, “FC Sion has not respected the rules of the transfer ban—they signed players and then played those players.” Infantino says the case will be dealt with in house. “The civil court ruling does not affect UEFA,” he says. “We will look at our rules and the FIFA rules. There is a ruling by FIFA, [the Court of Arbitration for Sport] have ruled, it went to the Swiss supreme court, and everything was confirmed but it has been challenged again.” Infantino also sets out the key point of the dispute, saying, “It is an interpretation question which is complicated—whether a two transfer-window ban means two transfer windows or parts of several transfer windows.” (Press Association (London) 8/26/2011)

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says that civil courts should not be used in the dispute with the Swiss club FC Sion. Although operating under a transfer ban (see April 16, 2009), Sion signed several new players (see Summer 2011) and used them to secure a place in the Europa League (see August 25, 2011), which UEFA is now reviewing. “Tell me,” says Blatter, “on what grounds we should grant an exception to a club where millions of others follow the rules?” He adds: “I like the way [FC Sion owner Christian] Constantin makes things happen generally, but one of the fundamental principles of football is not using the civil courts with our internal regulations. FIFA judged the case and found Sion guilty.” (Jardine 8/29/2011)

UEFA throws the Swiss Club FC Sion out of the Europa League for fielding ineligble players. The players were ineligible because they were signed during a transfer ban imposed on the club (see Summer 2011) as punishment for rule-breaking (see April 16, 2009). The players played in a two-legged playoff tie with Celtic, and UEFA now awards each leg to the Scottish club 3-0. (UEFA 9/2/2011) Sion will appeal the ruling, but the decision will stand (see September 13, 2011).

A Swiss court, the Tribunal Cantonal du Valais, rejects an action by the Swiss club FC Sion in the dispute over Sion’s ejection from European competition (see September 2, 2011) and refuses to issue an injunction. According to the court, the dispute between Sion, UEFA, and Celtic, which replaced Sion in the Europa League, does not have close enough links to Valais for it to adjudicate the matter. (Swiss Football League 9/2011)

A Swiss court, the Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud, orders that the club FC Sion be reinstated in the Europa League. UEFA recently threw Sion out of the league in a dispute over player eligibility (see September 2, 2011). UEFA is not represented at the court hearing. (UEFA 9/13/2011) Later the same day, UEFA’s appeal body confirms Sion’s ejection (see September 13, 2011), and UEFA’s emergency panel decides to ignore the court order (see Afternoon, September 13, 2011).

UEFA rejects an appeal from FC Sion over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League (see September 2, 2011). The ruling means that Celtic, which Sion defeated in a playoff, goes forward to the group stage of the competition. Sion can file an appeal against the decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. (UEFA 9/13/2011) Earlier in the day, a Swiss court had ruled that FC Sion should be readmitted to the competition (see Morning, September 13, 2011), although UEFA’s emergency panel soon decides to ignore the court order and keep Sion out of the competition (see Afternoon, September 13, 2011).

Following a Swiss court order that FC Sion be reinstated in the Europa League (see Morning, September 13, 2011) and a UEFA appeal body ruling that confirmed the club’s ejection (see September 13, 2011), UEFA’s five-member emergency panel, including president Michel Platini, meets to discuss what to do. It decides to ignore the court order and continue to include Celtic in the competition at Sion’s expense. UEFA issues a statement explaining its reasoning for ignoring the order: the court only heard Sion representatives, not UEFA, and one of the grounds for the court’s ruling was erroneous—UEFA’s appeal body reviewed the decision shortly after the court order was issued, whereas the court thought it would not do so until after the Europa League group stage started on 15 September. “I am a strong believer and deeply attached to the protection of football and fairness of the game,” says Platini after the meeting. “I am happy that football disciplinary bodies are sanctioning clubs who are using their influence and wealth to induce players to breach their contracts. This is against all rules of sporting fairness. This is ultimately about protecting clubs, the players and football itself.” He adds: “We have clear rules and regulations that all clubs know before they enter our competitions. We cannot accept that if one individual club does not get its own way then it goes through any possible system to force its will on the others. Two independent disciplinary bodies have ruled on this issue and we must abide by their decisions.” (UEFA 9/13/2011)

UEFA president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino are ordered to attend an interview with a Swiss prosecutor in UEFA’s home canton of Vaud over the FC Sion affair. The move comes after UEFA ignored a civil court ruling that the Swiss club should be reinstated in the Europa League, which led Sion to file a criminal complaint. UEFA issues a statement saying it is “happy that Michel Platini should go and meet the Vaud prosecutor and explain UEFA’s position.” (Dunbar 9/23/2011) The interview will take place in the middle of October (see October 19, 2011).

UEFA files an application with the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a decision on the FC Sion case. Although Sion was thrown out of the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011), it has taken the dispute to civil courts in Switerland (see Morning, September 13, 2011 and September 23, 2011), which UEFA does not approve of. (UEFA 10/11/2011)

A judge with the Swiss civil court of Martigny and St. Maurice reaffirms a ruling he issued the previous month in the dispute between FC Sion and the football authorities (see August 3, 2011). The decision ordered that Sion be allowed to field six players whose eligibility was disputed. (FIFA 11/18/2011) However, a higher court will later overturn the ruling (see December 23, 2011).

Marco Villiger, FIFA’s director of legal affairs, gives an interview to the organization’s website on the dispute between FIFA and UEFA on the one hand and the Swiss club FC Sion on the other. Villiger says that by involving civil courts in the dispute, Sion is “irresponsible” and has done an “enormous amount of damage” to “the autonomy of the sport” and also to Swiss football. He adds that the civil actions have caused “chaos” and comments: “If every club went to a local court when they disagreed with something, international football would no longer be possible. Arguments over the games which involved ineligible players will continue long after this case is closed.” He also discusses FIFA’s communication policy on the case, saying, “Normally FIFA does not comment on ongoing cases, but we are being a little more open about this one because the other side have been so aggressive in the media.” Villiger also hints that FIFA is displeased with the Swiss FA’s handling of the matter, saying that member associations are responsible for enforcing FIFA’s decisions: “If an association chooses not to enforce it, it’s up to us to sanction them. Possible sanctions include suspensions, expulsion from competitions, and so forth. If we can no longer enforce decrees, the whole system is in danger.” (Villiger 9/30/2011) FIFA will later make such a threat against the Swiss FA explicit (see December 17, 2011).

A Swiss court again finds in favour of FC Sion in its dispute with UEFA over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League. The Civil Court of the Canton of Vaud instructs UEFA to reinstate the club in the Europa League and orders that UEFA pay the maximum fine of 1,000 Swiss francs for each day of non-compliance. The judge says that UEFA’s actions are unfair and that it appears not to have followed its own rules in the case. (FC Sion 10/5/2006)

UEFA’s executive committee unanimously decides to ignore a court order to reinstate the Swiss club FC Sion in the Europa League (see October 5, 2011). The decision is taken at an extraordinary meeting to discuss the case, although the meeting is not attended by UEFA president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino, who are to appear before a prosecutor in the case (see September 23, 2011). Neither is it attended by Peter Gilliéron, a committee member and also president of the Swiss Football Association. Instead of complying with the ruling, the committee decides to wait for the outcome of another court hearing in the dispute, this time before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The committee justifies its refusal to comply by saying that it lacks the power to reinstate the club—Sion was ejected by UEFA’s disciplinary bodies and these are independent of the organization’s executive. UEFA issues a statement saying it is therefore “constitutionally unable to apply to the letter of the super provisional and provisional measures decided by the civil court.” (UEFA 10/11/2011)

UEFA President Michel Platini gives a wide-ranging interview to the German publication Der Spiegel on a number of topics. On the FC Sion affair, in which UEFA has decided to deliberately ignore a court order reinstating Sion in the Europa League, Platini is asked, “How is it that you can simply ignore a court’s ruling?” He replies: “The prosecutor will pose that question to me on October 19 (see September 23, 2011 and October 19, 2011). I can’t talk about it now.” He also talks about how he sees the significance of the dispute: “It would be a catastrophe for the sport if everyone could go to court at any time. Imagine if a player got a red card and found a judge who said: ‘The referee and the football association are preventing him from performing his job.’ A ban on working! We could all just call it quits… If a court decision finds that the six ineligible players should have been allowed to play, it would be a disaster, the end of football.” On the topic of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules Platini says the aim is to “introduce some fairness,” but does not know whether it will benefit German clubs specifically. Asked about the absence of specific penalties in the regulations, Platini replies, “It’s not about killing the clubs; we want to help them. There is a range of possible sanctions, including monetary fines, a ban on signing new players and the exclusion from competitions.” Platini also says that he has been sure for the last two months that the 2012 European Championships will be in Poland and Ukraine, as planned. Previously, there was a risk part of the tournament would be taken away from Ukraine and played in Germany. Finally, he refuses to confirm he will succeed Joseph Blatter as FIFA president in 2015. (Platini 10/14/2011)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport decides some procedural issues in the dispute between UEFA and the Swiss club FC Sion over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League (see September 2, 2011 and September 26, 2011). The court confirms its competence to decide the merits of the case, dismisses a request by FC Sion for a stay of proceedings, and confirms the nomination of the arbitrator originally chosen by FC Sion. In addition, the court’s statement sent to the parties twice states that FC Sion is committing “clear abuse of [court] procedures” through its attempts at legal maneuvering. (UEFA 10/15/2011)

UEFA explains the ways in which the Swiss club FC Sion could be reintegrated into the 2011-2012 Europa League to the Swiss court Tribunal Contonal de Vaud, following a court order it do so. Sion could be reintegrated into Group I as a fifth team and either eight additional fixtures would be played, or all previous results would be ignored and the group would start again with teams only playing each other once. Alternatively, Sion would simply join the competition in the next round. (UEFA 10/17/2011) Sion will lose the legal battle and will not be reinstated (see December 15, 2011).

The Swiss judicial body Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud rejects an application by the Swiss club FC Sion that it order UEFA to immediately reinstate the club in the 2011-2012 Europa League. In particular, the court rejects the request that UEFA be ordered to enable Sion to play the French team Stade Rennais in the next round of fixtures instead of Celtic. Sion defeated Celtic in a playoff, but were then thrown out of the competition for fielding ineligible players and the Scottish team invited back in (see September 2, 2011). (UEFA 10/18/2011)

A Swiss prosecutor interviews UEFA president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino over the FC Sion case. UEFA threw Sion out of the Europa League for breaching a transfer ban (see September 2, 2011), but this led to a legal dispute and Sion filed a criminal complaint against UEFA, which is the reason for the interview (see September 23, 2011). (UEFA 10/19/2011; Agence France-Presse 10/19/2011) Details of what is said in the interview are unknown.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport sets the date of the hearing in the Europa League dispute between UEFA and the Swiss Club FC Sion for November 24. UEFA ejected Sion from the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011) and since then there has been a series of legal disputes between the parties (see September 26, 2011 and October 14, 2011). The date is conditional on it being approved by the two parties. (UEFA 10/25/2011) The court will rule in December, mostly in favour of UEFA (see December 15, 2011).

Six players from the Swiss club FC Sion appeal bans imposed on them by the disciplinary committee of the Swiss Football League. The five-match bans were imposed on the six, Pascal Feindouno, Gabriel Garcia De La Torre (a.k.a. “Gabri”), Stefan Glarner, José Gonçalves, Billy Ketkeophomphone, and Mario Mutsch, in a dispute over whether they were signed while Sion was under a transfer ban (see Summer 2011). The players and the club now appeal this decision to the league’s appeal tribunal. (Swiss Football League 10/2011)

The Swiss club FC Sion complains to that country’s Competition Competition about the behavior of UEFA. Sion and UEFA are involved in a legal dispute over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011) and Sion now argues that UEFA is abusing a dominant position. (UEFA 2/7/2011) The commission will take no action against UEFA (see February 7, 2012).

The Swiss club FC Sion and several of its players complain to the European Commission over its treatment by UEFA and FIFA. Sion was punished by the authorities for poaching another team’s player (see April 16, 2009), but has allegedly ignored punishment for this infringement (see September 2, 2011). Sion’s announcement of the complaint states its belief that that UEFA’s expulsion of the club from the Europa League is in conflict with European Union law. (Swissinfo 10/31/2011)

A Swiss appelate court, the Tribunal Cantonal Valais, overturns lower court rulings favorable to the football club FC Sion in a dispute with FIFA and UEFA. A lower court had twice ruled (see August 3, 2011 and September 27, 2011) that players FIFA declared ineligible because of a transfer ban on the club (see Summer 2011) could actually play. FIFA welcomes the ruling, stating, “The Cantonal Court has thus indirectly taken the same view as FIFA and the [Swiss Football League] and its ruling has indirectly confirmed the legality of the transfer ban FIFA imposed on [FC Sion].” (FIFA 11/18/2011)

The key hearing in the dispute between UEFA and the Swiss club FC Sion over the latter’s ejection from the Europa League is held before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The hearing follows a long dispute between UEFA and the club (see September 2, 2011). (UEFA 12/15/2011) The court will mostly rule in favor of UEFA (see December 15, 2011).

The Swiss Football League rejects appeals against the results of matches in which players signed by FC Sion during the summer transfer window played. The club was apparently operating under a transfer ban when it signed the players (see Summer 2011). The league’s disciplinary committee rejects appeals by Sion against the results of two games with BSC Young Boys on July 23 and December 4. Sion played these games without its six disputed signings. The protest is rejected because at the time of the first game none of the players was validly registered, and they were not allowed to play in the second game following a Swiss court decision adverse to Sion (see November 16, 2011). Protests by other Swiss clubs against the results of matches in which the six disputed players were involved are also rejected. A protest by Grasshopper Club of Zurich is dismsised for formal reasons. Protests by FC Lausanne-Sports, FC Thun, FC Basel, and FC Lucerne are dismissed because at the time of the games between FC Sion and these clubs the Swiss league was allowing the six to play because of orders from Swiss courts (see August 3, 2011 and September 27, 2011). These decisions can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. (Swiss Football League 12/12/2011) The committee will issue a similar ruling concerning another FC Sion match soon after (see December 23, 2011).

The Court of Arbitration for Sport issues a ruling in the dispute between UEFA and the Swiss club FC Sion that is largely favorable to the Europan governing body. The court finds that UEFA is not under a duty to reintegrate Sion into the 2011-2012 Europa League, a competition from which it had been banned for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011). However, the court does not rule in favor of UEFA on some other matters. For example, it refuses to declare that UEFA regulations and disciplinary measures are not in conflict with Swiss law. Sion is ordered to pay two thirds of the costs of proceedings—with UEFA making up the other one third—and also to make a contribution to UEFA’s legal costs. (CAS 2011/O/2574 UEFA v. Olympique des Alpes SA/FC Sion: Arbitral Award 12/15/2011 pdf file)

FIFA threatens to suspend the Swiss FA in a long-running dispute over the transfer of an Egyptian goalkeeper to FC Sion in 2008 (see April 16, 2009). FIFA sets a deadline of January 13, by which time the Swiss FA must comply with its instructions. Otherwise, the Swiss national team will be unable to play matches and FC Basel will be unable to continue in the Champions League. FIFA demands that Sion be penalised by forfeting each game in which it fielded an ineligible player, in particular the six it signed in the summer when FIFA says the club was under a transfer ban due to improprieties during the goalkeeper’s transfer. “The executive committee decided to give a final deadline of January 13 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,” says a FIFA statement. However, Swiss FA spokesman Peter Gilleron tells a news conference FIFA’s demand is “impractical,” although he believes a points deduction is possible. (Reuters 12/17/2011) In response, Sion files a criminal complaint against FIFA’s executive committee (see December 29, 2011).

The disciplinary committee of the Swiss Football League rejects another appeal by FC Sion over the result of a recently played game. Sion was unable to field six banned players in the game with FC Zurich on December 10 because of a long-running dispute. The committee, which rejected a similar appeal by Sion a few days previously (see December 12, 2011), says the player bans are appropriate because of a Swiss court ruling (see November 16, 2011). Sion may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. (Swiss Football League 12/23/2011)

The Swiss club FC Sion files a criminal complaint against FIFA’s executive committee in the long-running dispute over a player’s transfer (see April 16, 2009). FIFA had previously threatened to suspend Switzerland from international competition if the Swiss Football Association did not sanction Sion in accordance with FIFA’s instructions, and such suspension would mean that the Swiss national team could no longer play matches and that FC Basel could not continue in the Champions League (see December 17, 2011). Sion says on its website that the threat amounts to unacceptable blackmail and a breach of a basic legal rule. (Associated Press 12/29/2011)

The Swiss FA deducts 36 points from FC Sion because the club fielded what it deems to be ineligible players in 12 matches. The move comes as a part of a long-running dispute between the club and various football authorities (see April 16, 2009), following a threat from FIFA that if the Swiss FA did not do so, all Swiss teams would be suspended from international competition (see December 17, 2011). The players are ineligible as they were signed during a transfer embargo imposed after Sion signed an Egyptian goalkeeper despite him being under contract to another club. Three points are deducted for each domestic league or cup game in which one of six ineligible players was fielded. The deduction leaves Sion bottom of the Swiss first division with a points total of minus five. According to the Swiss FA, Sion may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. (BBC 12/30/2011)

The Swiss Competition Commission decides to take no action against UEFA following a complaint made by the club FC Sion. UEFA and Sion have been in dispute for some time over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011), and the club filed a complaint with the commission in October (see October 27, 2011). UEFA now issues a statement saying the commission has said it will take no action on the complaint. According to UEFA, this decision confirms “that UEFA has not violated the rules of free competition and that the decisions of its disciplinary bodies represent neither an abuse of a dominant position nor an obstacle to free competition.” (UEFA 2/7/2011)

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