World governing body FIFA has threatened to suspend Egypt and the Egyptian Football Association from the nations cup, and other footballing activities, following a court ruling to dissolve the elected board of the EFA. FIFA, in a letter to the EFA, warned Egypt that any government interference in football affairs is strictly prohibited, saying “sanctions will be considered, including suspension” if the court verdict takes effect.
The letter warns that the court decision, if implemented, would most likely be considered as an interference in the internal affairs of the EFA and the case would be brought to the highest authorities of FIFA for consideration of sanctions, including the suspension of the EFA.
FIFA rules prohibit any government intervention, as articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA statutes oblige member associations to manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties. The warning comes in the light of Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court ruling to dissolve the EFA board over election irregularities.
Candidates for the EFA 2012 elections Magda El Helbawi and Hermas Radwan had dragged the EFA board to court over allegations of vote rigging during the elections. The court accepted the lawsuit in March and the verdict obligated minister of youth and sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz to dissolve the EFA board headed by Gamal Allam.
However, the EFA has asked all involved parties not to discuss the issue until it is resolved to ensure that the Egyptian national teams and clubs keep playing in the continental competitions. EFA Chairman Gamal Allam has also said he was ready to resign to spare Egypt any such problems.
Sports Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz has expressed respect for FIFA regulations, insisting he has solutions for any possible legal issues possibly resulting from an appeal rejection, without revealing details.
Egypt defeated Nigeria 1-0 in Alexandria last month to virtually confirm their ticket for the Gabon 2017 African Nations Cup. The Pharaohs are also in the final round of the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
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However, if FIFA banned the Egyptians from all international competitions, the Group G ticket in the African Nations Cup qualifiers would now be a straight contest between Nigeria and Tanzania.