Manchester United could be given a sensational Champions League lifeline at the expense of their conquerors Basel.
It has been revealed that Fifa sanctions over Swiss club FC Sion could mean Sir Alex Ferguson’s team are reinstated.
Fifa could ban all Swiss teams from football if under the sanctions, though the Old Trafford club aren’t banking on it.
"We are not holding our breath over this. It does seem a very long shot,” a Manchester United insider said in the Sunday Express.
This comes about after FC Sion were placed under a transfer embargo over the signing of Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary.
In spite of this, Sion then signed a further six players in the summer, leading them to be punished by UEFA and kicked out of the Europa League after qualifying at the expense of Celtic.
This expulsion lead to the Scottish club being given a place in the group stages, though they have since been eliminated again.
The Swiss FA did not enforce the ban that was placed on the club and so Fifa have now warned them to do so by January 13 or face suspension.
The suspension would mean the removal of FC Basel and could lead to Manchester United being given their place in the last 16 tie against Bayern Munich.
Basel officials are thought to have already accompanied Swiss FA officials to talks with Fifa over the ban.
Basel vice-president Bernhard Heusler does not feel the suspension will actually be handed out and a solution will be found.
“I am confident that we will play Bayern Munich but I take the threat very seriously,” he said.