AP NEWS

Soccer team back in top tier 6 years after criminal collapse

April 22, 2018

NEUCHATEL, Switzerland (AP) — Swiss team Neuchatel Xamax is back in the top division six years after disbanding midseason amid bankruptcy under a Chechen owner later convicted of criminal mismanagement.

Xamax was promoted Sunday when second-place Schaffhouse lost, making its 20-point lead unassailable.

The two-time Swiss champion, which counts former FIFA head Sepp Blatter among its honorary presidents, has worked its way back from regional amateur soccer. Its coaching staff includes former Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz.

Xamax collapsed in January 2012 and was removed from the league. The club had debts of more than 20 million francs ($21 million).

Then-owner Bulat Chagaev, a businessman from Chechnya, was found guilty of charges including attempted fraud and sentenced in his absence to a three-year prison term.

Blatter was a Xamax board member in the 1970s before joining FIFA.