Ultimatum from FIFA to Tunisia: it can be left without a World Cup

Tunisia could be excluded from the World Cup in Qatar if the country’s government continues to interfere in football matters, FIFA has warned Tunisian authorities. FIFA’s member associations must be free from legal and political interference, according to the body’s codes. The warning comes after repeated comments by the Tunisian Minister of Youth and Sports, Kamel Deguiche, about the possibility of “dissolving the federative offices”.

FIFA considers his statement an attempt to meddle in the workings of the country’s football federation (FTF), and has asked him for clarification on attempts to interfere in its internal affairs and threats to dissolve his office. The Zurich-based organization has also reminded the FTF that member associations are “legally obliged to conduct their business independently and without the undue influence of third parties”.

“Any breach of these obligations may result in the imposition of sanctions under the laws of FIFA, including the suspension of the association in question”, he said in a letter from Kenny Jean-Marie, FIFA’s director of member associations, to FTF Secretary General Wajdi Aouadi.

A possible ban would mean that no Tunisian club or national teams would be able to play in continental or international competitions. Next month, the Tunisians will take part in the World Cup in a group with France, Denmark and Australia. The Águilas de Cartago have never progressed past the group stage in their previous five World Cup appearances and will open their campaign against the Danes on 22 November. FIFA has given the FTF no later than Friday to respond to its position following the minister’s comments.

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Ultimatum from FIFA to Tunisia: it can be left without a World Cup