BERN: Contoversial Swiss businessman Christian Constantin has quit as a vice-president of the Sion 2026 Winter Olympics bid over a clash with football coach Rolf Fringer writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Philippe Rochat, president of Sion 2026, said: “Jean-Christian Constantin has been relieved of his activities with immediate effect. [He] called me Friday morning and, without even consulting my committee, I accepted that he quit his duties.

“Personally, I regret his departure. But it was the best decision to take for Sion 2026, which runs ahead of essential deadlines. From the beginning, Christian always put the interests of the candidacy ahead of his own.

“This decision gives me relief, it allows us to avoid negative consequences for Sion 2026.”

Constantin, the president of Swiss league club FC Sion, has threatened to sue Fringer – a former national coach and now a television analyst – for defamation over comments after the club’s 2-1 league win at Lugano.

Subsequently Teleclub video footage showed Fringer flat on his back after Constantin was seen slapping his face once.

Fringer, 6o, said this had not been the full extent of the attack, adding: “He slapped me in the face three or four times. I held my microphone, did not hit back. I thought: ‘This can’t be real.'” Fringer added: “He also kicked me in the back. That’s unbelievable.”

Constantin responded that he had been “verbally attacked” by Fringer and had “straightened things out.” He added: “How? I got to him and kicked him in the backside. It feels good. It might not be gentlemanly, but you need to defend yourself when you’re attacked.”

On Friday, Constantin told Swiss media that he had “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 has 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.