FC Sion lost its lengthy legal fight with UEFA on Thursday, failing to win reinstatement to the Europa League in a player eligibility dispute.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld UEFA's right to kick Sion out of the competition because the Swiss club fielded ineligible players in a playoff victory over Celtic.
''This decision has been rendered unanimously by the three Swiss arbitrators comprising the arbitral panel in this case,'' the court said in a statement.
CAS ordered Sion to pay UEFA 40,000 Swiss francs ($42,500) for legal costs.
The court delivered its verdict less than 24 hours before UEFA conducts the draw for the Round of 32. Had it lost the case, UEFA faced a tricky dilemma to restore Sion halfway through the competition.
CAS said it would publish reasons for its verdict ''within the next weeks.''
Sion can later pursue an appeal at Switzerland's supreme court, which can overturn verdicts in a process typically lasting several months, if legal process was abused.
Sion had challenged UEFA's decision to award Celtic 3-0 wins for both legs of a playoff in August. Sion had won 3-1 on aggregate using five players signed in breach of a FIFA transfer ban.
The dispute dates from 2008, when Sion broke FIFA transfer rules by luring goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary to break his contract with Egyptian club Al-Ahly.
FIFA banned Sion from registering new players for two official trading periods spanning one year.
The legality of the sanction was upheld despite Sion appeals to FIFA, CAS and then the Swiss Federal Tribunal, which ruled in January. The sanction then took effect, but Sion defied it and signed six new players in the offseason.
Sion succeeded in entangling the Swiss league, which approves player registrations, and football's governing bodies as the club and players sought a variety of interim rulings in local civil courts.
The legal statutes of FIFA and UEFA prohibit clubs from using ordinary courts to resolve football disputes, and they repeatedly warned Sion that it must respect CAS's authority.
In its ruling Thursday, CAS said some legal cases were still outstanding.
FIFA and the Swiss league have filed appeals at CAS to challenge an interim decision granted to the players by a court in Sion's home canton (state) in August.