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Platini offers hope to Celtic
Published : 26 Aug 2011 12:30:16
UEFA president Michel Platini has called on the Scottish Premier League to take action over their clubs' failure to qualify for Europe - but then gave Celtic real hope they will still secure a place in the group stage of the Europa League.
It would be the first time since European competition began in 1956 that there have been no Scottish clubs beyond August following defeats for Rangers, Celtic and Hearts. However UEFA insiders have indicated that Celtic's opponents FC Sion are likely to be thrown out for breaching a transfer ban.
Platini said: "What is happening there is the rules have not been respected. FC Sion has not respected the rules of the transfer ban - they signed players and then played those players."
Celtic lost 3-1 at Sion but the Swiss side had five players signed with the club still under a transfer ban imposed by FIFA after breaching rules over the signing of Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary three years ago.
Sion have since been found by FIFA, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and the Swiss supreme court to have breached the transfer ban but are challenging the decision in a local court.
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said the case would be dealt with by the organisation's control and disciplinary body, with a hearing expected on Tuesday.
Infantino told Press Association Sport: "The civil court ruling does not affect UEFA. We will look at our rules and the FIFA rules. There is a ruling by FIFA, CAS have ruled, it went to the Swiss supreme court and everything was confirmed but it has been challenged again.
"It is an interpretation question which is complicated - whether a two transfer-window ban means two transfer windows or parts of several transfer windows. Sion will be in the draw but they can be subsequently excluded. The control and disciplinary body will make a decision certainly before the group stage starts."
On the plight of Scottish clubs, Platini added: "I am very disappointed with Scottish football which has such a great history in European football. They have such great clubs and it is a shame none of them have qualified but these things are decided on the pitch.
"The Scottish league have to look at this situation very seriously now. It's a shame clubs like Celtic and Rangers are not doing very well at the moment but maybe in another year they will."