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Switzerland side Neuchatel Xamax return to top division six years after bankruptcy, collapse

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

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

The two-time Swiss champion, who count former FIFA head Sepp Blatter among their honorary presidents, has worked their way back from regional amateur soccer. Their coaching staff includes former Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz.

Xamax collapsed in January 2012 and were 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.


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