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Sports

FC Sion president unrepentant after physically attacking TV commentator

The president of a football club in Switzerland has attacked a television commentator on the sidelines of the pitch after a first-tier match. Both he and the commentator have vowed to sue each other.

FC Sion president Christian Constantin (pictured above) announced on Friday that he planned to file a lawsuit for slander against television commentator Rolf Fringer – just hours after he was caught on camera slapping the pundit after having already knocked him to the ground.

"I turned around and was hit with the first blow to my face," Fringer told the Swiss newspaper Blick. "This was followed with a few more blows. I turned around and tried to flee, but I tripped over the camera." 

Asked by broadcaster Teleclub, which is Fringer's employer and the official media partner of the Swiss Super League, for his account of the incident, Constantin replied: "I kicked his butt. It felt good."

He later told Blick that he had no reason to apologize to Fringer, who is a former coach of the Swiss national team and Bundesliga club Stuttgart.

"He should stop insulting me. He can continue to criticize me or the club, but not to insult me personally," he said.

He added, that he had spoken to his lawyer about suing Fringer even before the incident, which occurred after his club had defeated Lugano 2-1 on Thursday.

However, Fringer, who was not injured in the incident, denied having insulted Constantin personally during a previous broadcast, when described his leadership of FC Sion as "ridiculous."

He also said he planned to take legal action over the incident.

Disciplinary proceedings

The Swiss Football League (SFL), which operates the Raiffeisen Super League, has launched disciplinary proceedings against Constantin.

"The SFL condemns in the strongest terms this behavior, which violates the rules of behavior of the Swiss football association (SFV), and has instructed the disciplinary committee to launch an investigation," a statement on the SFL's website said.

Stepping aside from Olympic bid

Meanwhile, Constantin is reported to have offered to temporarily step aside from his role as vice president of the committee that is planning to bid to bring the 2026 Winter Olympics to Sion.

Bid committee president Jean-Philippe Rochat tells radio station Rhone FM he was relieved by Constantin's offer, which "allows us to avoid negative consequences for Sion 2026."