Basel, the reluctant champ, takes the crown

BASEL, SWITZERLAND – It took three times but FC Basel has finally accepted the crown as Swiss football champions, in one of the stranger sagas of trying to make it to the top. The club defeated Lausanne 3-1 but the bigger battle was with FC Luzern, which theoretically could have overtaken the Basel club but its 2-2 draw with Zurich Grasshoppers over the weekend ended that possibility.

FC Luzern has been embroiled in a case to be decided by the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) that could give the team additional points for the season.

Swiss football has been plagued in recent months by bankruptcies and scandal and disputes, the most recent of which has been Geneva Servette’s efforts to avoid bankruptcy. Financier Hugh Quennec, part-owner of Geneva Servette Hockey Club, is currently scrambling to raise the necessary money to retain the club’s license.

Hugh Quennec, fighting for Geneva Servette Football Club in a year marred by scuffles and more

Four of the top Swiss clubs saw their requests to renew their licenses turned down last week, and Neuchatel Xamax filed for bankruptcy in January 2012. One of the teams turned down is Sion, which has defied Uefa and Fifa over 36 points deducted because they fielded ineligible players in a European match. “Switzerland, famous for its organization, is the home of world governing body FIFA and European equivalent UEFA but its domestic football has endured a chaotic year with the problems centered around Sion and Neuchatel Xamax,” Sports Illustrated recently reported.