|Full name||FC Sion|
|Ground||Stade Tourbillon, Sion|
|League||Swiss Super League|
|2014–15||Swiss Super League, 7th|
FC Sion is a Swiss football team from the city of Sion (pronounced: [sjɔ̃]). The club was founded in 1909, and play their home games at the Stade Tourbillon. They have won the Swiss Super League twice, and the Swiss Cup in each of their thirteen appearances in the final, the most recent being in 2015.
The first team is also known as Olympique des Alpes SA, as Swiss Football League (the top two levels) requires football clubs to be run as companies.
FC Sion were founded in 1909 by Robert Gilliard, who became club captain, and played their first game, a 3–2 win against FC Aigle, the same year. The club grew thanks to contributions from local people, and played their first competitive league fixture in 1914, again a 3–2 victory, this time against FC Monthey. In 1919 Sion formally organised its managerial structure, with Gilliard becoming Vice President, and Charles Aymon taking Presidency.
From 1932 Sion played in the fourth tier of Swiss football, where they spent much of the next twenty years, briefely interrupted by promotion to the third tier in 1944, quickly followed by relegation in 1946. In 1952 Sion returned to the third tier, and five years later gained promotion again to the National League B, followed five years later by promotion to the National League A (now the Swiss Super League) in 1962. 1965 saw the first of FC Sion's Swiss Cup wins, with a 2–1 victory over Servette FC.
The 16,263 capacity Stade Tourbillon was officially opened in August 1968, but was followed by relegation in 1969. Sion returned to the National League A at the first attempt, and secured a second victory in the Swiss Cup, winning 3–2 against Neuchâtel Xamax in 1974. Sion would go on to consistently perform well in the Swiss Cup, with victories in 1980 (vs Young Boys), 1982 (vs FC Basel), 1986 (vs Servette FC) and 1991 (vs Young Boys). This period of success also saw the renovation and expansion of the Tourbillon in 1989, and was crowned with Sion's first Swiss League Championship in 1992.
More success in the Swiss Cup followed, winning the tournament in three consecutive years from 1995 with victories over Grasshopper Zurich, Servette FC and FC Luzern. Their win against FC Luzern in 1997 secured FC Sion their only domestic double, having also won the Swiss League.
However the club quickly fell into financial trouble, and having narrowly avoided bankruptcy due to its purchase by Gilbert Kadji, the club suffered relegation in 1999. Despite returning to the top division the following season, financial problems plagued the team, culminating in relegation in 2001 and the departure of Kadji, and a denial of a professional license in 2003. The club was saved by architect and former footballer Christian Constantin, and they were re-instated into the second division in October 2003.
Constantin spent the following seasons rebuilding the club, with the club getting through twenty managers in the following eight years, including taking the role himself twice, in a bid to financially stabilise. He was rewarded in 2006 with promotion back to the Super League, as well as a victory in the Swiss Cup, becoming the first second tier team to achieve this, with a 5–3 penalty shoot-out victory over Young Boys after a 1–1 draw.
Transfer ban saga
In 2008, controversy came to Sion when they signed Essam El-Hadary, leading to a two-year "registration period" ban for Sion from June 2009, and an international playing ban for El-Hadary for four months, due to El-Hadary still being under contract at his former club Al Ahly. FC Sion appealed this action, but the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland confirmed the FIFA, DRC and CAS decisions in 2009 and 2010 respectively. However the lengthy legal battle (including the temporary reprieve), meant that the ban was only practically instituted first in the winter window of 2010–11 season.
Although gaining a place in the qualifying round of the 2011–12 Europa League by winning the previous season's Swiss Cup, Sion were excluded from the Europa League by UEFA after fielding ineligible players in their play-off victory over Celtic. On 2 September, the Swiss Football League rejected the registration of one more player, Brian Amofa.
On 30 September 2011, the SFL decided to provisionally qualify the six new signings, namely Stefan Glarner, Billy Ketkeophomphone, Mario Mutsch, Pascal Feindouno, José Gonçalves and Gabri García, to comply with the ongoing legal process. FC Sion also sued SFL and UEFA respectively in the Tribunal Cantonal de Valais and the Tribunal in Vaud, however both actions were dismissed. The club's earlier appeal was dismissed by UEFA Appeals Body on 13 September. FC Sion also sued SFL and UEFA in CAS, but withdrew the former claim. The hearing of the latter claim was set on 24 November.
On 25 October, the Discipline Commission (fr: Commission de discipline) of SFL suspended all six players for five games. It was reported that each player filed their legal claim in civil court instead of using the Swiss FA and CAS "sports court" system, which the ban was requested by FIFA. On 27 October, as a "provisional and super-provisional measures", UEFA invited FC Sion to a match schedule consultation once UEFA lost the legal battle.
On 31 October 2011, Sion sent a complaint to the European Commission. FIFA also won the legal battle in civil court in November. Previously the civil court of Martigny and Saint-Maurice (both city of Valais) ordered FIFA to confirm the signing of those six players on 3 August, a consequence of lawsuit brought out by the players. On 16 November, the FIFA and SFL appeal was upheld in the Valais canton court.
On 15 December, CAS upheld the complaints by UEFA, affirming its right to discipline Sion according to previous agreements. CAS also lifted the provisional measures ordered by the Tribunal Cantonal of Vaud (Cour civile) on 5 October 2011. After the ruling, FIFA threatened to suspend Swiss national and club teams from international competition if FC Sion were not appropriately penalized for its ostensible rules violations. In late December 2011, the Swiss Football Association complied with FIFA's demands and penalized Sion 36 standings points (based on how many matches ineligible players were involved), moving the club to last place in the league standings and putting the club at risk of relegation if the ruling stands.
They finished the 2011–12 Season at the 9th place which qualified them to the relegation matches against FC Aarau who they defeated 3–1 on aggregate and stayed in the Swiss Super League. Had they not had 36 points deducted from their season, they would have finished in the 3rd place, which would have qualified them into the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League. Before the start of the 2012–13 season, they made a major coup by signing Gennaro Gattuso and Kyle Lafferty, both signed on free transfers. The team, however, had a disappointing season, which saw them change coaches three times before settling on Gattuso to finish of the season, and finished in 6th place.
FC Sion holds the distinction of having never lost a domestic Cup final, with 13 wins in 13 appearances in the Swiss Cup.
- Swiss Super League: 2 – 1991–92, 1996–97
- Swiss Cup: 13 – 1965, 1974, 1980, 1982, 1986, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015
FC Sion play their home games at the multi-purpose Stade Tourbillon, which has a capacity of 14,500. It was originally constructed in 1968, and was renovated in 1989 and 2012. The club also has a training centre near his office in Martigny and a youth development center in nearby Riddes.
As of 1 September, 2015. Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Director of Sport
- Gennaro Gattuso (Feb 25, 2013–March 25, 2013)
- Note 1: Celtic lodged protests over the eligibility of a number of the Sion players who participated in the two legs of the play-off round, which Sion won 3–1 aggregate (first leg: 0–0; second leg: 3–1). The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body accepted the protests and decided to award both matches to Celtic by forfeit (3–0). As a consequence, Celtic qualified for the UEFA Europa League group stage.
- "FC Sion Official Club History (French)". FC Sion. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
- McGuire, Annie (16 August 2011). "Sion president the embodiment of a controversial club". BBC. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
- CAS decision
- "El Hadary banned for four months". BBC. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
- "FC Sion and El Hadary lodge appeal". FIFA.com. 7 July 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
- "FIFA statement on Swiss Federal Court ruling". FIFA. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "Transferübersicht Axpo Super League – Saison 2010/11 (Winter)". Swiss Football League (in German). Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "FC Sion appeal rejected". UEFA.com. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
- La demande de qualification pour Amofa rejetée 2 September 2011
- "FOOTBALL – CASE FC SION / OLYMPIQUE DES ALPES SA / SFL: APPEAL WITHDRAWN". CAS. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- Le FC Sion débouté par le tribunal cantonal 8 September 2011
- "Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud rejects latest court request from FC Sion". UEFA. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "FC Sion appeal rejected". UEFA. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "CAS sets date for FC Sion hearing". UEFA. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- Un effet suspensif pour les 6 joueurs du FC Sion 25 October 2011
- "UEFA statement on FC Sion case". UEFA. 15 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "UEFA invites Sion to match schedule consultation". UEFA. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "FC Sion complains to European Commission". swissinfo.ch. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
- "FIFA wins case against Sion players". FIFA. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- The Decision
- Switzerland facing international exile because of Sion affair, Duncan McKay, Inside World Football, 17 December 2011
- FC Sion docked 36 points by SFV following FIFA row, Andrew Warshaw, Inside World Football, 29 December 2011
- "FC Sion at WorldFootball.net". WorldFootball.net. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
- "Celtic protests over Sion matches accepted". UEFA. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to FC Sion.|
- Official website (French)