In a strange story from Switzerland, several news agencies are reporting that the Swiss FA has incurred the wrath of FIFA. The back-story involves a months-old dispute between FIFA and Swiss club Sion, but the new wrinkle is that ALL Swiss clubs could be banned from international play. If this occurs, Basel could get bumped, with Manchester United possibly taking their spot in the Round of 16.
Apparently, Sion was given a transfer ban over their under-the-table dealings with Egyptian international Essam El Hadary. Despite the ban, they proceeded to sign several players this last summer. FIFA issued several threats over the matter, but Sepp Blatter was apparently waiting for the Swiss FA to take punitive action.
Recently, though, Mr. Blatter's patience has started to run out. FIFA has now said that all Swiss clubs, including youth clubs, and the Swiss national team will be banned from international play if Sion isn't punished by January 13. It's unclear exactly what kind of punishment they need to administer to avoid this ban. But Sion is owned by Christian Constantin, an ex-player who has sued the FA and FIFA on numerous occasions, so who know whether any punishment can be made to stick by mid-January.
For Bayern, the result is that our opponent for the next round of the CL may be ineligible. If they get bumped, Man U was the next-highest ranked club in that group, so they theoretically could get moved up into the Round of 16. Man U's officials have played down the possibility, saying that they're planning for the Europa League. We'll be following the story all month, so stayed tuned to this site and to our twitter feed at http://twitter.com/bayern_offside for the latest. Not that I really care, we could crush Man U just about as easily, but it looks like it isn't going to happen anyway.