World Cup: Fifa probe casts Ethiopia progress into doubt

BBC Sport:Ethiopia‘s progress to the final round of African World Cup qualifying is in doubt after Fifa opened a disciplinary probe against them on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, the East Africans beat South Africa 2-1 in Addis Ababa to seemingly reach the African play-offs.

However, their progress is in question after accusations they fielded an ineligible player in the 2-1 win over Botswana on 8 June.

If a player takes part in an official match despite being ineligible, his team will be sanctioned by forfeiting the match and paying a minimum fine of CHF 6,000″

Fifa is also investigating Togo and Equatorial Guinea for the same offence.

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Fifa rules on player ineligibility
Article 55 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code states:

If a player takes part in an official match despite being ineligible, his team will be sanctioned by forfeiting the match and paying a minimum fine of CHF 6,000″

Fifa is also investigating Togo and Equatorial Guinea for the same offence.

A guilty verdict against all the sides would have serious ramifications in three of the groups trying to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

The case against the Ethiopians is pressing as a guilty verdict will hand a lifeline back to 2010 World Cup Bafana Bafana.

Currently five points off the top of Group A, South Africa would only be two points behind if the Ethiopians have to forfeit their victory against Botswana – and receive a technical defeat instead.

Should Ethiopia forfeit that victory against Botswana then South Africa would only be two points behind going into the final group matches in September.

Those game see South Africa host Botswana, while Ethiopia travel to face Central African Republic.

The president of the Ethiopian Football Federation, Sehilu Gebremariam, is still confident his side can progress.

“This is shocking news – but the point is that we are still leading the group, we believe that we shall still qualify for the next stage,” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

“We are scrutinizing the situation and we will give information to Fifa and to the public.”

He said they would be consulting the coaching staff to get their views on the situation before reacting further.

Football’s world governing body is also investigating Togo and Equatorial Guinea for the same reason.

Tunisia’s progress is on hold as Equatorial Guinea allegedly fielded an ineligible player in their 4-3 defeat of island nation Cape Verde in March.

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  1. Pingback: Ethiopia admits using an ineligible player | AddisNews.net

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