By Tony Attwood
“Untold” doesn’t mean “unfinished” and in fact we don’t like unfinished stories. And so much celebration is to be seen in Untold’s basement office as we announce the end of the story we first reported on 30 March concerning our old chum Johann Djourou.
Now I know that four and a half months is a long time in football, so here’s a brief reminder of the initial report by Dr Billy. You can read the whole piece here should you wish.
The dismissal of nine players by FC Sion of Switzerland following the outbreak of the pandemic was of interest because two of those dismissed were Johan Djourou and Alex Song. They refused to accept a pay cut and were sacked without any negotiations taking place. Meetings were cancelled, ultimatums sent by text and inevitably the Swiss players’ union SAFP became involved.
Then it became clear that only nine of the players of the players of the club were sacked – not all of them – an important point in Swiss law. Johan Djourou stated in an interview with France TV that all the players refused to accept the reduction in salary.
Then, deciding that the flames engulfing the club were not bringing the whole edifice down yet, the owner decided to fan them a little more by saying, “As leader, [Xavier] Kouassi had to be on the list. He only thinks about money. As for Djourou, he supported Kouassi, which was just stupid on his part.” Not the best negotiating tactics.
But now we read the headline on the 20min.ch website, “Former Swiss international Johan Djourou and FC Sion president Christian Constantin reached an agreement and buried the hatchet.” It notes that having been sacked Djourou not only launched a legal action against the club owner but temporarily signed with Neuchâtel Xamax, – although without being able to help them avoid relegation.
Here’s the final Swiss table.
|10||Neuchâtel Xamax (R)||36||5||12||19||33||68||−35||27|
But now Johan Djourou and Christian Constantin, the owner of Sion, have finally located some common ground, and have issued a joint statement:
“The tumultuous saga between the former player of the Swiss team and FC Sion due to the immediate termination of Mr. Djourou’s employment contract by the club, has found a favorable end with Johan Djourou and Christian Constantin having reached an agreement.
“Mr. Djourou received his salary until the end of his employment contract. In addition, an additional compensation determined by the parties was paid by the club to the Kemi-Malaika Foundation, which supports and promotes children’s education by building schools in Senegal.
“The parties and their lawyers, Sebastiano Chiesa, for Mr Djourou, and Ms Alexandre Zen-Ruffinen, for Olympique des Alpes [which is I believe an alternative name for Sion], are pleased to have worked to find this agreement which allows Messrs Djourou and Constantine to leave each other on good terms and to regain the esteem they have always had for each other.”
There is no news however as to what happened to Alex Song’s claim – this report makes no mention of him or the seven other players in the dispute.
Sion did avoid relegation from the Swiss Super League but changed their manager on 3 June bring in Paolo Tramezzani.
Johan Djourou played 86 league games for Arsenal and after a loan with Hannover he joined Hamburger, playing over 100 games for them. He also played 76 times for Switzerland.
Alex Song played made 138 league starts for Arsenal, before moving to Barcelona for whom he played 39 times before being loaned to West Ham. After that he went to Rubin Kazan before moving to Sion. He also played 49 times for Cameroon.
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