FIFA Warn Portugal National & Club Sides of Euro Suspension
March 8, 2011
The world soccer governing body, FIFA has issued a warning to suspend Portugal’s national sides and clubs from international competition should the country’s federation fail to approve new statutes that conform with the organisation’s rules.
The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) is hoping to pass the statutes in a vote later this month, March 19, after its regional associations rejected them in previous assemblies because they feared losing influence at national level.
FIFA’s media office told Reuters: “Should that [approval] not be the case, the associations committee would refer the case to the FIFA emergency committee for possible sanctions, including suspension.”
A potential suspension would put the national side’s 2012 European Championship qualifiers at risk and exclude the country’s top clubs, such as Porto, Benfica and Braga, who have qualified for the last-16 round of the Europa League, from UEFA competitions.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter added: “We are worried about the situation in Portugal. The Portuguese federation has to approve the statutes.”
The Portuguese government, which insists on the rule changes, has already reprimanded the FPF for not resolving the problem and terminated sponsorship contracts.
The new statutes would transfer significant voting power from regional associations to the country’s leagues, players’ unions, referees and coaches.
The FPF board released a statement, saying: “We are making another appeal to our members’ sense of responsibility on March 19, so we can avoid grave damage to Portuguese football.”