PtG Article 26.03.2010

FIFA lets Iraq back in but Brunei faces expulsion

FIFA’s suspension of Iraq has been lifted but the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam has edged closer to being expelled from the world body.

Iraq was suspended last November after the country’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) took control of the headquarters of the Iraqi Football Association using armed guards and dissolved the IFA.

After four months in international limbo, the Iraqi NOC has now backed down and FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed: “Iraq is fully back as a member of FIFA.”

Iraq’s football officials must now present FIFA with new statutes by May 31 and hold a general assembly within two months of this date but the Association of Brunei Darussalam (BAFA) could be expelled at the next FIFA congress.

The BAFA has been suspended since September 2009 for government interference and FIFA’s executive committee agreed at a meeting on March 19 that a proposal to expel Brunei will go to the world body’s 60th congress in Johannesburg on June 9-10.

The suspension, which led to Brunei being excluded from the 2011 Asian Cup qualifiers, came after the Sultanate’s government dissolved the BAFA and put forward plans for a new body.

In a statement after the recent congress, FIFA “[noted] that no major progress had been made since the BAFA was suspended in September 2009.”

FIFA has handed out 15 suspensions over the past five years, mostly for political interference, and some countries, such as Kuwait and Samoa, have been suspended more than once.

Other countries suspended since 2005 include Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Greece, Madagascar, Peru and Yemen.