Sport Soccer

Sunday 20 August 2017

Lennon in dark over Sion squad

Ronnie Esplin

Celtic manager Neil Lennon believes UEFA should clear up the confusion that threatens to turn their Europa League play-off tie against Sion into a non-event.

The Swiss club arrived in Glasgow for tonight's first-leg clash at Parkhead with five players in their squad who are, in the eyes of FIFA, ineligible to play.

Sion allegedly broke a registration embargo by the world football governing body at the weekend when Pascal Feindouno, Mario Mutsch and Gabri all lined up against Lucerne after a Swiss court ruled in their favour.

Former Hearts defender Jose Goncalves and Billy Ketkeophomphone are also in Sion's European squad approved by the Swiss FA who, along with the club, have reportedly been warned by UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino about possible sanctions.

VERDICT

However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who will rule on the issue, will not pass their verdict until after the second leg next Thursday.

Lennon, though, would like it all sorted out before the first leg.

"If a team plays ineligible players, they should be punished within the rules of the governing body," he said. "The rules should be there to adhere to. But we are all still in the dark as to the outcome of this.

"It would be nice if there was some clarification before the game. I won't be seeking it, but I think it'd be best if we had some answers.

"Basically, I am concentrating on my own team and preparing as best as I can."

Meanwhile, Lennon has signed goalkeeper Fraser Forster on a season-long loan from Newcastle, subject to registration.

The 23-year-old will spend a second season at Parkhead having played 44 times in a similar arrangement last term, which included a Scottish Cup triumph.

"We're absolutely delighted as he's been our main target, basically, since the end of last season," Lennon said. "It's great to have him back but I would be pretty hard pushed to put him in the squad for tonight."

Irish Independent

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