Reuters: FIFA’s Executive Committee confirmed on Wednesday that Kenya and Iran were both still suspended from international soccer activity — although Iran’s under-23 team are being allowed to compete in the Asian Games. By Mark Ledsom
ZURICH (Reuters) – FIFA’s Executive Committee confirmed on Wednesday that Kenya and Iran were both still suspended from international soccer activity — although Iran’s under-23 team are being allowed to compete in the Asian Games.
Kenyan officials had hoped FIFA would lift their suspension, but the executive committee maintained it for the time being.
“There is still too much confusion in Kenya, which makes lifting of the sanctions inappropriate,” Jerome Champagne, the FIFA President’s delegate on special affairs, told Reuters.
Iran has been given until next Tuesday, December 12, to sort out the problems concerning the running of its football association.
Failure to so would result in the suspension staying in force, FIFA said in a statement.
FIFA is also looking at issues in Poland, Albania and Togo and ruled that Gibraltar, which is applying for membership of European body UEFA, did not meet the statutory requirements to become a member of FIFA.
Kenya was indefinitely suspended from all international competitions on October 24 for failing to honour agreements and for the chaos in the east African nation’s troubled federation.
The Kenyan government responded by dissolving the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) on November 3.
KFF officials got court orders reinstating them to office, while the Sports Minister, Maina Kamanda has filed a defence in court.
Former chairman Alfred Sambu and secretary general Dan Omino, suspended on November 25 by the federation for allegedly causing the problems, have also gone to court seeking reinstatement.
“FIFA will continue to monitor the situation (in Kenya) before any decision is taken to lift the sanctions,” Champagne said.
He said the two parallel leagues in Kenya and the current court cases were still worrying the world ruling body. But he added they were encouraged by the progress made by some KFF officials, like acting chairman Mohammed Hatimy.
FIFA suspended Iran, who won the Asian Games title in 1974, 1990, 1998 and 2002, from all international competition on November23 because of what it cited as government interference in the sport.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter told reporters at the Soccerex conference in Dubai last week that if Iran agreed FIFA’s route to normalisation the ban would be lifted.
FIFA has allowed Iran’s under-23 team to compete in this month’s Asian Games in Doha, but no other international soccer activity has been sanctioned.
Blatter told a news conference on Wednesday that the “one open question” regarding Iran, was “the question of the chairmanship of the board”.
He said a board had been created “to bring back the football of Iran into the statutes of FIFA and AFC (Asian Football Confederation).”
But he added the move has to be in compliance with national law, “as football can be autonomous but not independent (of national law).
He said the only matter that needed to be clarified was the chairmanship of the board.
“It is not our aim to suspend federations and not let them play but we need to see that our statutes are respected,” he added.