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Sion president slaps ex-Switzerland boss, presses charges for defamation

Rolf Fringer, now a TV pundit in Switzerland, acknowledged he had been critical of Sion president Christian Constantin.

Sion president Christian Constantin, who was filmed slapping former Switzerland coach Rolf Fringer, has said he is pressing charges against the TV pundit for defamation.

On Thursday, Constantin attacked Fringer following Sion's 2-1 Swiss Super League win at Lugano, just seconds before a postmatch interview.

Teleclub's footage showed Fringer, who managed the national team in the mid-1990s, lying on his back while Constantin slapped his face once, but the 60-year-old said that had not been the full extent of the attack.

"He slapped me in the face three or four times," Fringer, who joined Teleclub ahead of the current season, told the Swiss broadcaster. "I held my microphone, did not hit back. I thought: 'This can't be real.'"

He added: "He kicked me in the back. That's unbelievable."

Fringer, whose last managerial stint came at FC Zurich in 2012, had recently attacked Constantin's personality. He accepted that he had been critical of him but called the president's reaction "unbearable."

Constantin later defended himself in an interview, saying he had been "verbally attacked" by Fringer.

"I've straightened things out," he said. "How? I got to him and kicked him in the a---. It feels good. It might not be gentlemanly, but you need to defend yourself when you're attacked."

On Friday, Constantin told Swiss wire ATS that he has "pressed charges against Fringer for defamation and libel."

He added: "He has been throwing mud at me for months. I warned him that I will not take it and will react if he continues to libel me. He once again started on Wednesday."

The Swiss Football League (SFL) is set to investigate the incident, but Constantin said: "What do they want to do about it? Fringer has no official function in football.

"If two people meet in a court, the SFL don't do anything, do they?"

Neue Zurcher Zeitung reported that Fringer also intends press charges against Constantin.

In 2004, Constantin attacked a referee and his assistant, and was fined €24,500 for assault by a Luzern district court two years later.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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