United could get Champions League lifeline as FIFA threaten Swiss ban
Published 13:45 17/12/11 By MirrorFootball
Manchester United could be handed an amazing Champions League lifeline after FIFA threatened to kick Switzerland out of football.
The Old Trafford giants dropped into the Europa League after their shock defeat at FC Basel earlier this month.
But now their Euro conquerors could be dumped if the Swiss FA fails to enforce a transfer ban on Sion by January 13.
The Swiss club were put under a transfer embargo over the signing of Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, but proceeded to sign six players in the summer.
Sion then fielded five of the six players during the Europa League play-off tie against Celtic earlier this year and were kicked out of the competition as a result, with UEFA's decision to expel them upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier this week.
FIFA have now ordered the Swiss Football Association to sanction Sion or risk Switzerland being excluded from all football - which would mean Basel losing their place in the Champions League last 16 and the national team missing out on an encounter with Argentina in February.
UEFA could bring United back into the competition or hand Basel's next opponents Bayern Munich a bye into the quarter-finals.
A statement from FIFA read: "The executive decided to give a final deadline of 13 January 2012 to the Swiss FA to enforce the registration ban imposed on Sion by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and confirmed by the Swiss Federal Court and to sanction the attitude of the club repeatedly trying to circumvent this decision in a legally abusive manner.
"As a consequence, all matches in which the relevant players participated shall be declared forfeit or three points shall be deducted respectively. Should this deadline not be respected, the Swiss FA will be automatically suspended from 14 January 2012 onwards."