UEFA bans Swiss club Sion for 1 season over transfer debt

NYON, Switzerland — UEFA has banned Swiss club Sion from its competitions for one season over a transfer debt, and fined three clubs for breaking licensing rules.

Sion is barred from its next Champions League or Europa League qualification on merit in the next two seasons, UEFA said in announcing the verdicts of judges from its club finance monitoring panel on Monday.

The case involved a 950,000 euros ($1.18 million) debt to French club Sochaux in the disputed transfer of Ghanaian forward Ishmael Yartey. UEFA said the debt was paid during the last offseason.

UEFA also fined Sion the 235,000 euros ($290,000) prize money earned by playing in one qualifying round of this season's Europa League, where it was eliminated by Suduva Marijampole of Lithuania. Sion lies ninth in the Swiss league and unlikely to qualify for the next Europa League.

The Swiss club can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

UEFA said the panel also fined Irtysh of Kazakhstan 440,000 euros ($545,000) and put the club on three years' probation.

Vojvodina of Serbia and Tirana of Albania were each fined the 215,000 euros ($266,000) they earned from Europa League qualifying rounds.

UEFA's licensing system requires club operations to be evaluated by national soccer federations who must approve a license before formally entering a team to play in the Champions League or Europa League.

UEFA can intervene to block club entries due to incorrect paperwork or unpaid debts including player salaries, transfer fees owed to other clubs, and taxes.

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