Super League: But why hasn’t western Switzerland won the title for 23 years?

The Super League championship starts this weekend with two favourites: Basel and Young Boys. If two French-speaking clubs, Servette and Sion, are at the start, neither should end up becoming champions. It has now been 23 years since our region last won the title. Why? As? Attempts at explanations in Sport Premiere.

It’s a long scarcity, too long no doubt, and should spread a little longer. French-speaking football has been eating brown bread since 1999, when it was in its golden age. In fact, consider that between 1985 and 1999 our region won 7 titles out of 15 and every season during this period at least one French-speaking club climbed to the podium of the so-called National League A. Since , only Sion (2007) and Servette (2021) have finished in the top three once. This shows how much the rest of Switzerland has gained the upper hand. The question is not newbut why are we here?

Basel was supported by patrons and took over. YB was also able to take center stage again thanks to investors. A passion can be felt in French-speaking Switzerland

Johann Lonfat, former Swiss international, became champion in 1997 with Sion and in 1999 with Servette

Champion with Sion 1997 and Servette 1999, Johann Lonfat has the particularity of having won the last 2 French-language titles. If he is personally happy about this anecdote, the Valaisan regrets that no one has succeeded Granat, who was crowned in Lausanne on June 2, 1999. “We are waiting for a renewal, that’s clearhe replies as part of our radio show Sport Première. I remember that in my time at both Sion and SFC, our title was above all the success of a team, because I’m not convinced that we were the best team on paper. You have to remember that Grasshopper was the big club, the big armada. With us, on the other hand, there was a good atmosphere, reinforced by the punctual appearance of good foreign players. That’s enough for us. Since then, even if the Romans continue to work well with young people, Basel has been supported and taken over by patrons. YB was also able to take center stage again thanks to investors. A passion can be felt in French-speaking Switzerland. Perhaps the new formula of the championship will give us the opportunity…

It must be said that in 23 years all the clubs in French-speaking Switzerland have experienced their problems, while others have been able to take on the European turn. Christian Constantin, President of FC Sion, insists: “If Servette or Lausanne had access to the Champions League they would have had the money to go through, but we had to get that place. If you have more money, you can attract better players. And without the European Cups, that money is hard to find and feats complicated to achieve.”

If Servette or Lausanne had access to the Champions League they would have had the money to go through, but we had to get that place. Without Europe, this money is hard to find…

Christian Constantin, President of FC Sion and a very fine connoisseur of Swiss football.

Christian Constantin, President of FC Sion

Over the years, the tourbillon boss has seen the differences widen. “Up until the late 1980s, the players were still semi-professionals, the budgets were tight, and the aging stadiums were ubiquitous. The basic conditions were more or less similar for everyone. In 1994, for example, we were one of the clubs with Barcelona and Milan that took part in the World Cup with 7-8 players. We could also deny exceptional European posters whose ingenuity still allows to make hits.”

Sion and the other Romandes have therefore seen both the European and the Swiss-German train slide through the crampons. “The Bosman judgment of 1995 did not help eithercontinues Johann Lonfat. He gradually prevented young locals from opening the doors of their club’s first team. It got tricky.” A speech followed by Raffaele Poli, Doctor of Human Sciences at CIES and head of the Football Observatory: “Bosman dragged the championship level down. The best players don’t really stay there anymore and by the early 2000’s Basel had settled down on their own in the CL. This gave him the means that the others could no longer have..”

Bosman’s suspension dragged the championship level down. The best players don’t really stay there anymore and by the early 2000s Basel had settled in the CL on their own. This gave him the means that the others could no longer have.

Raffaele Poli, head of the football wardens

Raffaele Poli, head of the football wardens

The Romands no longer saw profitable Europe, sank into managerial worries and sailed on sight. “It was a vicious circleadds Poli. There was no more stability, so fewer sports projects. Despite good youth, Servette and Lausanne could no longer act as locomotives and their nuggets went either abroad or to German-speaking Switzerland because they could no longer rely on long-term planning. Whereas Basel and YB use the money to anticipate, plan, etc.»

We have understood: Western Switzerland is still a long way from the big names. But from there to no longer believing there is a step that our interlocutors do not cross. “On the contrary, there is always a glimmer of hope, because every French-speaking club has experienced technicians on duty to look after the youth.intervenes Claude Ryf, member of the ASF. But we can do even better! It takes motivation and skills, all multiplied by the financial means. And then remember that Basel spent 5 years at LNB, that it took YB more than 30 years to win back a title.”

There is always a glimmer of hope! But it takes motivation and skills, all multiplied by the financial means. And then remember that Basel spent 5 years at LNB, that it took YB more than 30 years to win back a title…

Claude Ryf, ASF trainer.

Claude Ryf, ASF trainer

Given the seeds sown in western Switzerland, there is nothing to prevent one of “our” clubs from returning to the top. “In the national team we have 4 players who are trained at SFCanalyzes Gérard Castella, today at YB. That means we have the players, but then they have to be able to develop to a certain level. What the SFC could not offer Denis Zakaria at the time.”

The last word goes to Christian Constantin: “Servette is fortunate to have the Rolex Foundation behind her and Geneva also has potential that may allow SFC to become Swiss champions one day if all the stars are right. In Sion, on the other hand, we are the guerrillas and the other armies… But as Michel Blanc says (Editor’s note: impersonation of his character as Jean-Claude Dusse in “Les Bronzés font du ski”)due to some misunderstanding, we can do it…”

Mathieu Germanier, web adaptation Arnaud Cerutti

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