Swiss club Servette falls into bankruptcy

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GENEVA (AP) -- The owner of Swiss club Servette placed the club into bankruptcy on Thursday, becoming the second team in the 10-club top division to go bust this year.

Iranian businessman Majid Pishyar said in a statement on the club's website that he took the "complicated" decision with a "broken heart."

He directed blame at the city's government and business community whose "support has, unfortunately, been below my expectations."

"I invited all partners to take part in the club's success. To my great sadness, only a minority joined us," Pishyar wrote.

Servette's debts have been reported at between 1.7 to 3 million Swiss francs ($1.88-$3.3 million), and the club has fended off bankruptcy hearings from creditors including the company which cleans the stadium.

However, the club does not own the Stade de Geneve, which was built by local authorities to be a venue for the 2008 European Championship.

Pishyar, who took charge in 2008, said that "we will continue to fight for Servette."

It was unclear if the club will complete its matches this season. It also fell into bankruptcy in 2005 and was demoted midseason.

The Swiss Football League issued a brief statement to say it was in the process of seeking clarity for the league's future.

Servette is currently fourth in its first season after promotion, and is pressing to qualify for UEFA's Europa League.

In January, Neuchatel Xamax was declared bankrupt and dropped out of the league. The club's Chechen owner, Bulat Chagaev, is being prosecuted on charges of fraud and financial mismanagement.

Servette won the last of its 17 league titles in 1999 and is also a seven-time Swiss Cup winner.

Former players include current Switzerland international Philippe Senderos, former West Germany great Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Christian Karembeu, a member of France's 1998 World Cup winning team who joined Servette during a spending spree before the previous bankruptcy.