FIFA Threatens Gambia with “severe sanctions” after Government Meddling

By Community | March 7, 2012

FIFA has cautioned Gambia that it may incur “severe sanctions” after the government dissolved the national football association following a loss in an African Cup of Nations qualifying match.

FIFA said on Tuesday that it wrote to the Gambia FA insisting it has not “recognized and/or condoned” the Gambian Ministry of Youth and Sport’s decision.

“In particular, no governmental instituted ‘interim committee’ would be recognized and/or dealt with by FIFA,” the governing body of football said.

FIFA has asked the elected officials who have been ousted to report on their situation by Thursday.

“Upon expiry of this deadline, the submission of the present case to FIFA’s Emergency Committee will be evaluated,” FIFA warned.

The emergency panel chaired by FIFA President Sepp Blatter can suspend countries from world football if it decides that governments have interfered in running the sport.

The ministry fired Gambia FA officials on Friday after the national team lost 2-1 to Algeria in the home leg of a 2013 African Cup qualifier.

“FIFA underlines that any action taken against the GFA’s executive committee would constitute a clear governmental interference and therefore infringe the FIFA Statutes which could lead to severe sanctions,” the warning letter said.

Suspension from world football prevents teams and officials, at national and club level, from taking part in international matches and meetings. FIFA also cuts off funding and grants.

The dispute could stop Gambian club Brikama United from playing in the African Champions League against defending champion Esperance of Tunisia. The teams are scheduled to meet in the first leg of the first round on the weekend of March 23-25.

Gambia’s national team is next due to play on June 1 against Morocco in a friendly. The return match against Algeria is slated for June 15.

The Gambia FA is led by president Seedy Kinteh, who is a member of FIFA’s development committee, which allocates millions of dollars in project funding each year.