World Cup 2022: Tunisia risk possible ban from finals in Qatar

Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn is sent off in a friendly against Brazil
Brazil beat Tunisia 5-1 in a friendly last month, with defender Dylan Bronn sent off.

Tunisia could be excluded from next month’s World Cup in Qatar if the country’s government intervenes in football matters, world governing body FIFA has warned.

FIFA member federations must be free from legal and political interference.

The warning comes after repeated comments by Tunisian Youth and Sports Minister Kamel Deghiche about the possibility of “liquidating federal offices”.

FIFA considers his statement to be an attempt to interfere with the leadership of the country’s Football Federation (FTF) and has asked the latter to explain the attempts to interfere in its internal affairs and the threat to dissolve its office.

The Zurich-based organization has also reminded the FTF that member associations have a “legal obligation to conduct their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties”.

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“Any failure to comply with these obligations may result in sanctions under FIFA law, including the suspension of the association concerned,” FIFA’s Director of Member Associations, Kenny Jean-Marie, said in a letter to FTF Secretary General Wajdi Aouadi.

A possible FIFA ban would mean that no Tunisian clubs or national teams would be able to play in either continental or international competitions.

Next month, the 2004 African champions face World Cup holders France, Denmark and Australia in Group D in Qatar.

The Carthage Eagles have never made it past the group stage in their five previous World Cup finals appearances and will open their campaign against the Danes on November 22.

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FIFA has given the FTF a response on its position following the minister’s comments no later than Friday.

There have been serious allegations against the FTF in recent times, with one side of the club, Chebba, accusing the body and its president, Wadia Jerry. deliberately misleading the Court of Arbitration for Sport In April 2021 – before the sport’s highest legal body, which ruled in favor of the club later that year.

Chebba fans burn tires and block road to their town in protest against team suspension - October 2020
In 2020, Chebba FC fans burned tires and blocked roads in protest against the FTF’s suspension of the team, which was later lifted.

FIFA has already acted this year on other cases of government interference in football with the African pair Kenya and Zimbabwe are currently serving suspensions.

India were also banned in August for “undue third-party influence”, casting doubt on hosting this month’s Women’s Under-17 World Cup, but FIFA lifted India’s suspension later that month.

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Analysis by Tunisian sports journalist Souhail Khmir

“There is no specific statement that FIFA is concerned about – there are many of them.

“Over the last few months the Sports Minister has called on the FTF to postpone the domestic league and review the start dates.

“At one point, he stated that the Ministry of Sports has the power under Tunisian law to dissolve federal offices.

“The FTF saw this as a threat. This ongoing harassment was considered interference and is being referred to by FIFA.”


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