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COUNTDOWN TO QATAR: FIFA could ban Tunisia over govt interference

Tunisia, one of Africa’s representatives, risk being excluded from the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The tournament is scheduled for November 20 to December 18.

Football governing body FIFA has warned that Tunisia could forfeit their place at the global tournament if the country’s government interferes in footballing matters.

FIFA has always insisted that its member associations must be free from legal and political interference.

BBC reported today that FIFA’s warning follows repeated comments from Tunisia’s sports minister Kamel Deguiche about the possibility of “dissolving federal bureaux”.

FIFA considers the minister’s statement an attempt to interfere in the running of the country’s football federation (FTF), and has asked for clarification about attempts to interfere in the federation’s internal affairs and threats to dissolve its office.

FIFA has also reminded the FTF that member associations are “legally obligated to conduct their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties”.

“Any failure to comply with these obligations may result in the imposition of penalties under the FIFA laws, including suspension of the relevant association,” FIFA’s director of member associations, Kenny Jean-Marie, wrote in a letter to FTF general secretary Wajdi Aouadi.

If FIFA bans the country, no Tunisian club or national teams can play in either continental or international competitions, and the North Africans would not be able to participate in the World Cup.

FIFA has given the Tunisia until Friday to reply regarding its position following the minister’s comments.

The Carthage Eagles are in Group D for the World Cup, along with Denmark, Australia and defending champions France.

FIFA has already wielded the big stick this year over other instances of government interference in football, with Kenya and Zimbabwe currently serving suspensions.

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Naija Times