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FIFA bans Sudan

Published:Friday | July 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Haitham Tambal attempts to play the ball while representing Sudan in a recent football match.

FIFA said yesterday that it has suspended the Sudan Football Association because of government interference, leading to three of the country's clubs being thrown out of African competitions.

Two of the clubs were disqualified from the African Champions League hours before they were due to play last night. The third was scheduled to play this weekend, and had already sealed a place in the quarterfinals of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Sudan will remain suspended until a decision by the Ministry of Justice to remove the SFA president and the rest of the association's board of directors is rescinded, FIFA said.

FIFA does not allow government bodies to interfere in the running of football federations.

Following FIFA's decision, which world soccer's governing body made on June 27 and announced on Friday, the Confederation of African Football disqualified Al Hilal Omdurman and Al Merreikh from the African Champions League. Al Hilal Obeid was thrown out of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Al Hilal Obeid had qualified for the Confederation Cup quarterfinals and was due to play Zesco of Zambia tomorrow in its last group game.

CAF didn't immediately say how it would restructure the competitions.

A FIFA suspension means Sudan's national team and its clubs are not allowed to play in international competitions, and the country's federation cannot receive any funding from FIFA or CAF until it is reinstated.

Sudan has already been eliminated in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, but is involved in qualifying for the 2019 African Cup of Nations. Its next African Cup qualifier is in March next year but won't be able to play in that game if it is still suspended by FIFA.