Monday, July 03, 2006

FIFA suspends Greece from international football

Current European national champion Greece has been suspended from international competition by football's ruling body because of government interference in the domestic administration of the sport. FIFA announced the sanction stating the Greek FA and all its members - clubs, players and officials - were "suspended with immediate effect and until further notice from all international contact." Under the ban, Greek clubs cannot enter qualifying for the Champions League next month.

FIFA's Emergency Committee, comprising the presidents of all continental confederations, decided that the administration of the Hellenic Football Federation did not comply with FIFA's statutes regarding independence of the decision-making process from government. In September 2005, the federation was given a 15 July deadline to obtain from the Greek government an amendment to the national law on sports so that the national association conformed with international and European football regulations.

FIFA said Greek authorities have failed to deliver on commitments to amend the law. "In fact, the recently presented draft of a new law on professional leagues constitutes another example of interference from the government in football affair," FIFA said in a statement quoted by AP.

Greece's opening qualifying match for the 2008 European Championship had been scheduled for 2 September at Moldova. The Greeks also were supposed to play an international friendly at England on 16 August.

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