SWITZERLAND

Former Arsenal and Barcelona player Alex Song to take 'unfair dismissal' case to FIFA

Former Barcelona midfielder Alex Song was one of nine players to be sacked by Swiss club FC Sion in a coronavirus cost-cutting measure.

Coronavirus: Stunned ex-Barca star Song vows to fight Sion sacking

Former Barcelona and Arsenal midfielder Alex Song has expressed dismay at being sacked by FC Sion, and has promised to put in a formal complaint to FIFA. The 32-year-old Cameroonian was one of nine players to lose his job when the Swiss side proposed reducing the first team squad's wages as an emergency measure in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Swiss clubs hit hard by coronavirus crisis

According to Sion, Song and eight team-mates refused the new terms and were dismissed with immediate effect. With income severely hit, given the Swiss Super League is suspended, Sion president Christian Constantin is confident the club were acting responsibly in proposing the new wage measures.

Yet Song, 32, is far from happy with the situation and intends to take legal action, with the Swiss players' union also indicating its support for the footballers in the past week.

"My lawyer will take care of it, it's gone to FIFA. We're going to defend our right," Song told French broadcaster RMC. He continued: "We played a friendly on Friday and we were supposed to meet with the president on Monday, then Tuesday. We had no news. We received a WhatsApp message on Tuesday afternoon to tell us that everyone had to sign a paper saying that we'd reduce our salaries, that we'd be paid around 12,000 euros. We had to return the paper by 12pm the next day. We received this document without an explanation."

Song said that without speaking to the club, it would not have been right to sign up to the new arrangement. "We decided together to not sign this document. We wanted to discuss it."

Sion, for their part, said players were invited by the club's accounting department to participate in a video call, but that few took up the opportunity. The ex-Barcelona and Arsenal player insists he is bewildered by Sion's swift move to cull players who did not immediately fall into line. "I've not committed any professional mistake," he said. "Every club talks to their players to reach solutions. I don't understand what's happened. Nobody can understand it."