March 27, 2023

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The president of Sion fired the coach and took his place. This is the same trickster who measured the gates of Spartak

A new trick of the eccentric boss.

The owner and president of Sion, Christian Constantin, excelled again. Switzerland has long been accustomed to his outrageousness (for 20 years he has changed more than 40 coaches), but another trick is extremely peculiar – Konstantin himself led the team, where, by the way, Mario Balotelli is already snatching away from the fans for an unintelligible game  .

Why do this and what else did he come up with before?

Yes, yes, the president will coach Sion. This is not the first time he does this – even the lack of a license was not embarrassing

Sion are penultimate in the league, they haven’t won since October (11 matches without a win), and at the weekend they got 0-4 from St. Gallen.

Of course, this is better than 2:7 from him in November, but Konstantin hardly thought the same. He simply removed coach Fabio Celestini and took charge of the team himself for at least a week (two matches with Lugano in the Cup and the championship). “Sion” on social networks told everyone so.

Konstantin is the owner of a Swiss architecture firm and the club’s longtime boss. Once he was a goalkeeper, but he did not play at a high level, but he showed himself much better as a leader, already in 1992 becoming the head of Sion.

The next five years saw two championships and three Cup victories. But the 130 transfers that took place during this period had a negative impact on the club. In 1998, Constantine resigned, leaving the team with 13.4 million francs (then £5.5 million) in debt. “Sion” could not recover, in 2003 he had already slipped into the third division.

It was then that Konstantin returned, acting as the savior of the club from complete bankruptcy. He invested a lot of his own money, brought the team back to the elite and won four more Cups (in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015). But along the way, he plunged “Sion” into various dubious stories.

For the first time, Konstantin decided to replace the coach with himself back in November 2008. When Swiss football officials tried to point out to him that he did not have a coaching license, he replied that this was not necessary, since the real coach Uli Stielike was only on sick leave.

“I sent him home because he was in a disheveled state and gave off an unpleasant smell,” Konstantin said of the coach.

Shtilike was obviously surprised by such a characterization – and said that he could not work in “a strange atmosphere of presidential interference in command affairs.” However, the German should have expected something like this, because before him the eccentric owner of Sion fired 8 coaches in two years.

Then Konstantin the coach did not have time to play the match. But he gave himself the next such opportunity already in April 2009, when he fired another coach and personally beat Lucerne 5:3 in the Cup semi-finals. It is curious that five days later the first match as the head coach of Spartak was held at that time by the general director Valery Karpin.

In the future, the owner of Sion led the team three more times as head coach. In the summer of 2016, he defeated Romon in the Cup (6:1), but lost to Grasshopper in the championship (1:2). Finally, in 2021, Sion defeated Lausanne (3:1) with him in the league.

This is the same Konstantin who measured the gates in Moscow

In 1997, Spartak played 2:2 with Sion in the 1/16 finals of the UEFA Cup, but before the start of the match at the Lokomotiv stadium, the goal was measured – just from the filing of Konstantin. Turned out they weren’t the correct size.

“Sion” really needed to cling to further participation in the tournament, but Konstantin’s trick was only half successful. UEFA did not let Spartak go further following the results of this game, but appointed a replay. In it, the Russian club defeated Sion 5:1. “Konstantin sent his players to the scaffold” – this is how Leonid Trakhtenberg described the match in Sport-Express.

We wrote about all this amazing history in detail here:

In 1997, Sion knocked out a replay with Spartak: they measured the goal, checked Gorlukovich’s spikes, framed ORT for 100k dollars

Under him, the club was excluded from European competition and lost 36 points.

Sion rarely play in European competition – in this century, for example, they have been there six times. In the 2011/12 season, he knocked out the Scottish Celtic from the Europa League, but missed it in the group stage. The reason is the participation in matches of players who came to the team bypassing the ban on transfers. Sion were suspended and Celtic were admitted to the group.

Sion vs. UEFA: why the team was expelled from the Europa League and why will they be returned back?

Moreover, Sion then won the case against UEFA in a civil court. But CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) did not satisfy his complaint and did not reinstate the club in the Europa League.

All this happened in the autumn of 2011, and in the winter Sion was deducted 36 points in the Swiss championship – three for each of the 12 matches where the same six unregistered players participated.

The president also fought with the fans: when they booed the player, he simply closed the podium

The transfer ban, which Sion suddenly decided not to comply with, was imposed on the club due to the illegal signing of Egyptian goalkeeper Essam al-Hadari in 2008. The future four-time winner of the African Cup and the oldest player in the history of the World Cup then independently terminated the contract with Al-Ahli during the season, fleeing to Sion.

FIFA did not appreciate such a deal: Al-Ahly was awarded compensation, the keeper was disqualified for 4 months, and Sion was issued a transfer ban.

The fans did not really accept the problematic goalkeeper. In November 2008, when Konstantin first tried on the role of head coach, the fans booed the goalkeeper. The owner of the club reacted sharply, closing the 5,000-strong northern stand for the ultras and sending them to the guest southern sector.

“If our fans want to join forces with the opponent, they will be in the right place,” Konstantin said. Due to security concerns, the president then canceled the venture, but three Sion fan movements withdrew their support for the team in two pre-Christmas matches, issuing a general statement saying that “the future of the club must be without Konstantin if we want to keep him identity and values.