In our previous article, we wrote about the troubles that FC Sion have with FIFA, and how that may lead to FC Bayern’s opponents FC Basel being eliminated from the Champions League, and we mentioned two possible outcomes, either Bayern Munich getting a walkover or else Manchester United replacing Basel. Now, it has just started to get more interesting for Bayern Munich fans, and we bring you not one but two reasons for this.
Reason 1 – Ukraine
Last year, Ukraine faced a similar problem. Fortunately for the good of the beautiful game, no one was punished because an agreement was reached. However, most importantly, at the time UEFA had threatened that it would eliminate Ukranian clubs WITHOUT calling up replacements, i.e. handing their opponents wins without a match actually taking place.
Therefore, if an agreement is not reached this time round with the Swiss Football Association, UEFA would not be fair to call Manchester United to replace Basel, but would probably have their hands tied and be forced to give FC Bayern free passage to the Champions League quarterfinals.
Of course, I wouldn’t put all my money on this happening, because I am convinced that UEFA would do everything in their powers to try and reinstate Manchester United, knowing that they would end up making much more money this way.
Reason 2 – CAS
The Court of Arbitration for Sport may ring a bell to FC Bayern fans. Indeed, it was the CAS who refused to consider Bayern Munich’s appeal for Franck Ribery’s extremely harsh three match suspension to be reduced, costing the player to miss the Champions League final against Inter Milan. Perhaps by coincedence, the president of CAS is an Italian hailing from Milan, raising more than a few eyebrows amongst the Bayern faithful.
Ironically, it is now the CAS that may come to Bayern’s rescue. The Swiss FA president Peter Gilleron was quoted as saying that “the decision, to punish Sion with forfeits, could also be a case of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.” It is now expected that Basel will launch a last-minute appeal with CAS. If such an appeal is done, this will take the CAS some time to process, and by the time a decision is taken, Basel would have played at least their first leg against Bayern, and Switzerland would have probably played their high profile friendly against Argentina on 29th February (yes, 2012 is a leap year).
If Switzerland do not want to comply with FIFA’s demands, which they don’t seem to for the time being, it would be in their interest to go down the CAS route to buy time for Basel and the national team. What this comes down to is that if FC Basel would eliminate FC Bayern and the Court of Arbitration for Sport rule against the Swiss FA, it wouldn’t be the Red Devils making a comeback in the Champions League after being eliminated, but it would be the “typical Germans” instead. Yes, just as Celtic ended up playing in the UEFA Europa League after being eliminated by Sion, similarly it could be FC Bayern playing in the quarterfinals after being eliminated by Basel, not that I wish for the latter to happen.
It is looking indeed very likely that we will see FC Bayern München written on a slip of paper and contained in one the balls used during UEFA’s Champions League quarterfinal draws in Nyon on 16th March 2012. Now, where’s that money I wrote about earlier? I have a bet to make…
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