Temporary AFC chief Zhang Jilong says countries must sort out their own mess as AFC cannot step in ‘at the moment’.
|Belize played Monserrat in a World Cup qualifer last Wednesday – although the FIFA suspension now means the return leg has been postponed [AFP]|
World football’s governing body, FIFA, has suspended the Belize football federation with immediate effect citing “severe government interference”.
FIFA issued a statement on Friday after its emergency committee had issued the ban.
The suspension means that the return leg of the qualifier for the 2014 World Cup against Montserrat, which was scheduled for Sunday, has been postponed, after Belize won the first leg 5-2 on Wednesday.
FIFA had warned sanctions could be on the way after the government said they no longer recognised the Belize Football Federation (FFB) or the national team.
FIFA said the decision followed the Belize government’s informing the FFB on June 8 that it was “not authorised to represent this country in any local or international competition or in any other forum for football on behalf of the Government, People and Nation of Belize”.
The Belize government, FIFA continued, said the federation had “failed to meet the requirements for registration with the Council, as the National body for the administration of football in Belize”.
Initially FIFA had given the parties until June 30 to resolve the dispute but suspended the FFB after the federation was told by the government that no security would be provided for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier.
“The Belize government wrote to FIFA on 16 June saying the Belize police would “not be providing any services to the federation with respect to the security of the visiting team and officials at the match” to be played on 19 June,” FIFA said in the statement.
“Under these circumstances, and due to the interference of the government of Belize, FIFA cannot take the responsibility of letting the match take place.”
FIFA said if the match is not rearranged by July 10 at the latest, Belize would be eliminated from World Cup qualifying.
“The suspension will be in place until the Belize government reverses its decision. Any action taken by the government against the office-bearers of the FFB will not be recognised by FIFA,” said the statement.
FIFA statutes reject any government interference in the autonomy of football federations and have led to a number of conflicts and suspensions in the past.