List of countries banned by FIFA due to third-party interference
These nations have been suspended by the Football governing body for various lengths of time.
FIFA recently banned the Indian football governing body AIFF over third-party interference in football administration. This is not the first time FIFA has sanctioned a country for such practices. Regardless of whether it is the government of that country or a private entity, FIFA follows a strict policy toward third parties interfering with football.
Similar events took place in India when the Supreme Court abolished the AIFF Working Committee and appointed the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to take over the duties and day-to-day operations. Nevertheless, it violated FIFA guidelines, and India is now on FIFA's list of banned countries.
India isn't the only country on this list, as many others have also been sanctioned by FIFA. In this article, we will look at countries that have been banned by FIFA because of third-party interference.
Iraq is one of the powerhouses in the middle-east. Despite their stature in Asian football, they were banned by FIFA in 2008 due to Iraqi government interference. In 2008, Iraq dissolved its National Olympic Committee and National Sports Federations, leading FIFA to ban them.
The ban, however, only lasted two days after the Iraqi Government clarified that their Football Federation was an exception to the dissolution decision. And they never intended to interfere with the Football Association. The ban was also revoked by FIFA following an official confirmation from Baghdad.
Despite escaping the FIFA sanctions in 2008, Iraq were banned again in 2009. In response to the dissolution of the Iraqi Football Federation by the Iraqi Olympic Committee, FIFA imposed a ban on Iraq. Iraq's female team, however, received an exception from FIFA. They participated in a week-long football festival in Jordan even after the ban was imposed. After the Iraqi Football Association was reinstated in March 2010, FIFA lifted the ban.
In 2014, Nigeria experienced a big administrational crisis after the World Cup. The Nigerian Football Federation removed its executive committee following a poor performance in World Cup, and the Nigerian Court hired a civil servant to run the office.
As a result of their violation of FIFA's strict guidelines, Nigeria was banned after their World Cup campaign on July 9, 2014. In just nine days, the Nigerian Football Federation cleared the mess and the office was reinstated, assisting them in removing the FIFA ban.
The Guatemalan Football Federation suffered a corruption scandal in 2016, which led to the appointment of a transitional committee by FIFA to run the office. However, FIFA banned Guatemala in October 2016 after the Directors of the Football Federation refused to recognize the committee stating it is against the country’s regulations. In 2018, the ban was finally lifted after two long years.
In 2015, Kuwait's Football Association was banned after the Government interfered with its functioning. FIFA became aware of these revelations in 2015 after the Kuwait government introduced legislation that affected clubs and the Football Association. They were banned by FIFA in October 2015, and the ban was finally lifted in December 2017.
Another Asian country, Indonesia, was banned by FIFA for third-party interference. Indonesia's government abolished the Football Association in 2015 and replaced it with its own committee. As soon as FIFA became aware of the situation, it banned Indonesia and the ban stood for two years. As a result, Indonesia missed out 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asia Cup qualifiers.
FIFA banned Pakistan in 2017 due to third-party interference. It was imposed on Pakistan's football federation because their accounts and offices were controlled by a third party. Following constant allegations of corruption within the PFF, a Pakistani court had appointed a Committee of Administrators to oversee its office and accounts which led to the ban. In March 2018, the ban was lifted.
The government of Chad disbanded the Chad Football Association last year in March, which led to FIFA banning the association. Football proceedings were taken over by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, which was in violation of FIFA's rules. After six months, FIFA finally lifted the ban in October 2021 after assurance from the government.
After several sexual harassment and fraud cases against the Zimbabwean FA's office bearers, the Sports and Recreation Commission of Zimbabwe suspended the organization. FIFA, however, did not like the disbanding of the Football Federation and immediately banned them. Due to a ban still in place, Zimbabwe will not be eligible to compete in 2023 AFCON.
This year, Pakistan was banned yet again by FIFA after normalisation committee officials took over the Football Association's headquarters. This was clearly third-party interference, and Pakistan was banned a second time. It took until July 2022 for the ban on PFF to be lifted, after the mistake was quickly rectified.
This year, Kenya was also banned by FIFA. The Football Association was disbanded by the Kenyan Sports Ministry in February and a temporary committee was created to run the association. Despite FIFA's direct request to the Sports Minister of Kenya to reverse her decision to dissolve the Football Federation, the Ministry of Sports denied FIFA's request. Kenya continues to be under suspension.
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