Home | News    Tuesday 3 August 2010

FIFA tells Sudan to re-run polls of national football body

August 2, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan has been given an ultimatum by the FIFA to hold fresh polls for the national football association within 12 days or face suspension from the most-popular game worldwide over perceived government interferences in the elections as well as hefty fees required from candidates.

FIFA logoLast month, Sudan organized elections for the executive committee of the national football association after disqualifying the association’s ex-president, Kamal Shaddad, from standing in the elections.

The federal commission for the bodies and youth associations, which excluded Shaddad, cited article 16(3) of the Youth and Sports law which says that a candidate cannot run for a third term unless he held an international football job recognized by the sports ministry.

Shaddad has strongly protested the decision and blamed it on government’s interferences. “Interferences by the Sudanese government aim to exclude from the elections” he told Al-Rayaam newspaper.

He also slammed the "excessive" nomination fee which was originally set at 25,000 Sudanese pounds (about $10,000) before being reduced to 10,000 pounds (about $4,000).

Moatassim Ja’afar was declared winner of the elections for the football association in Sudan after stiff competition with the former head of Al-Hilal club Salah Idriss.

Idriss also happens to be the owner of the Al-Shifaa Pharmaceutical factory which was bombed by the U.S. in 1998 for allegations that was producing deadly chemical weapons and that ties existed between the owners and Al-Qaeda group headed by Osama Bin Laden.

The FIFA’s warning yesterday set 15 august as a deadline for Sudan to hold fresh polls “without any influence of third parties” or face ban of its national and club teams from international competition.

The FIFA already warned Sudan last month that it would not recognize the elections’ results.

"Any election without respecting the SFA [Sudanese Football Association] statutes and/or under governmental interference will not be recognized by FIFA," FIFA said in a statement released on 23 July.

The federal commissioner for the bodies and youth associations, Al-Rayah Widatallah, has shrugged off the FIFA’s threats, saying that the FIFA does not scare them and has no right to meddle in internal affairs.

He told Al-Sada sport newspaper that the elections were legal and nobody can annul them except the constitutional court.

In the past world governing body FIFA has banned nations due to political interference. FIFA has a range of possible punishments if it does decide to sanction Sudanese football, not just suspension.

Nigeria faced a similar threat when President Goodluck Jonathan said he would withdraw the team from international football for two years, before backing down.

Kenya and Guinea have also been suspended in the past for government interference in football.

Sudan, currently ranked as 121 on the FIFA ranking of soccer teams worldwide, is due to host the African Nations Championship and African Confederation congress in 2011.

(ST)