ZURICH - Belize has been warned by FIFA
that it could face sanctions over government interference in the
country's football federation as the national team prepare for
the opening match of the 2014 World Cup qualifying competition.
The Central Americans take on Montserrat in Malabar,
Trinidad on Wednesday in a CONCACAF zone preliminary round
first-leg tie with the return match at home on Sunday.
Even if they win, Belize could be suspended at the end of
the month after the country's government said it did not
recognise the local football federation (FFB) or national team.
"FIFA is monitoring the situation regarding the Belize
Football Federation very closely," football's world governing body said on Tuesday.
"If the current situation of apparent governmental
interference is not resolved by 30 June 2011, it will be
referred to the FIFA emergency committee for evaluation and
It is the latest controversy involving the North, Central
America and Caribbean region after the provisional suspension of
CONCACAF president Jack Warner by FIFA over bribery allegations
and the subsequent removal of acting president Lisle Austin for
an "apparent infringement" of CONCACAF statutes.
The Belize government said the FFB had failed to meet the
requirements for registration with the National Sports Council.
John Saldivar, Minister of Sports, said last week the
government had been in contact with the world governing body.
"I've written to the [FIFA] president [Sepp Blatter]
reminding him that the government of Belize has an obligation to
uphold the laws of Belize and urging him to convince the FFB to
comply," he told the website of the Channel Seven television
station in an interview.
"We have already informed FIFA that the FFB is not
authorised to represent our country. So whatever selection they
have put together cannot play as the national selection of
Wednesday's game is due to be played in Trinidad & Tobago as
Montserrat does not have a suitable venue.
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