3 African Football Association are being investigated by FIFA

July 2, 2013 10:26 pm0 comments by:

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One of the many benefits of technology ….in today’s world is the easy access to information. Thus, it was with intrigue …that I reacted to the news about a FIFA probe. And I was disappointed to know that it was about 3 African Member Associations –The Ethiopian Football Association, The Togolese Football Federation and The Equatorial Guinea Football Federation.

You may experience my feelings of disappointment, which may turn into that of annoyance. The statement on FIFA website has confirmed  that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against three member associations for each having allegedly fielded an ineligible player in the preliminary competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

The Ethiopian Football Association allegedly fielded an ineligible in the match between Botswana and Ethiopia on 8 June 2013.

The Togolese Football Federation allegedly fielded an ineligible in the match between Togo and Cameroon on 9 June 2013.

Disciplinary proceedings were also opened against the Equatorial Guinea Football Federation for having allegedly fielded an ineligible player in the match between Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde Islands on 24 March 2013, and a decision was recently passed by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee on this matter.

The EQG appealed against the decision to the FIFA Appeal Committee, and the appeal proceedings are on-going.

The disciplinary proceedings against the three associations relate to article 55 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and article 8 of the Regulations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

The article 55 mentioned in the press release relates to the FIFA DISCIPLINATY CODE 2011 and states clearly the punishment for default

1. If a player takes part in an official match despite being ineligible, his team will be sanctioned by forfeiting the match (cf. art. 31) and paying a minimum fine of CHF 6,000.

2. If a player takes part in a friendly match despite being ineligible, his
team will be sanctioned by forfeiting the match and paying a minimum fine of CHF 4,000

The explanation that hopefully the member Associations owe to their country fans, other countries in their WCQ Group and Africa Football in general is to the question….why?

The early explanation from Sahilu Gebremariam the President Ethiopian Football Association who stands to lose the most from a 3 points deduction was that Ethiopian player Minyahil Teshome Beyene should have missed the match ….having picked up two yellow cards in previous qualifiers.
“We’re not going to appeal, it’s a management blunder,” he said
In the case of Togo fielding an ineligible player, the Federation member Toussa Komi Gabriel told BBC Sport on Tuesday that Alaixys Romao should not have played in their 2-0 win over Cameroon in Lome on 9 June 2013.

“It’s true that the Togolese team didn’t find out if the player was qualified (to play) before using him,” said Komi.
He also said they would not contest any Fifa charge, which is almost certainly going to be the loss of three points

If you happen to be reading this article, then it is a fair assessment that you are not impressed with these explanations from the Ethiopian and Togolese Football Federation. I am not a believer in sacking people for first mistake or second for the matter, however there needs to be review of the process in both associations to avoid costly mistakes.

FIFA Disciplinary Committee confirmed on 1st July 2013 that EFF Ethiopian Football Federation were considered liable for fielding ineligible player. The match is declared to be forfeited and awarded 3-0 in favor of Botswana, with the EFF also receiving a fine of CHF 6,000.

Apart from the loss of 3 points, there is a repercussion that affects other countries in either group.  For members in Ethiopia, Group A, it might turn out to be irrelevant if Ethiopia better or have a similar result with South Africa in the final game due to be played on 6th September 2013.

For Togo Group I, the mistake of Togo directly affects Libya who loses the top spot to Cameroon, as the 3 points goes to them for losing to Togo. This means that Cameroon now have to better or match Libya result to qualify to the Final round of World Cup Qualifications 2016. This is not fair on Libya; although Cameroon’s final game is against them.

The third member association Equatorial Guinea under probe, the situation is slightly different and may be the reason why they are appealing FIFA’s decision. They have not included a suspended player/s but for using imported players from Brazil and Colombia in the World Cup Qualifying match against Cape Verde. The outcome of a deduction does not affect the winner of the Group B, as Tunisia has qualified with a spare game.

Nevertheless, it is disappointing that a simple investigation by the African football confederation would have avoided this embarrassment…. and more importantly qualification to a World Cup Event. It is even more worrying for Africa Football as in previous occasions Burkina Faso and Gabon lost points for fielding Cameroon-born players who were ineligible to play for their national teams while Sudan lost three points for using a suspended player.

I hope that writing this article will at least go towards other Africa Countries taking measures to avoid further probes investigation.

 

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