One day after India announced two friendlies against Mali for its Under-17 team as part of the World Cup preparations, a Reuters report from Zurich said the west African country has been suspended from international football.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced in New Delhi on Thursday that India would host Mali for two matches in Mumbai, on April 6 and 9. Should the matches go ahead, it would be the first time new under-17 team coach Luis Norton de Matos gets to see the boys play in a match situation.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das could not be reached for a reaction as calls to his phone went unanswered.
The Reuters report said that following Friday’s decision by Fifa, Mali cannot play international football including World Cup qualifiers until the dispute is resolved. The report said Mali was suspended after its sports minister sacked the executive committee of its football federation.
Fifa blamed the actions of sports minister Housseini Amion Guindo after he “decided to dissolve the executive committee of Femafoot (the Malian FA) and appoint a provisional committee mandated to run the association.”
It said Guindo had also ordered the election of a new executive committee within one year.
Football’s governing body insists that its member FAs must be able to manage their affairs independently without government interference.
The rule is a controversial one as it means that national governments are powerless to intervene in their country’s football federation even when they suspect cases of mismanagement or corruption.
“The suspension will be lifted once ministerial decisions are nullified and the executive committee of Femafoot and its president, Boubacar Baba Diarra, is reinstated,” said Fifa.
Brazil, Chile, Paraguay qualify for U-17 WC
Football powerhouse Brazil, Chile and Paraguay qualified on Friday for the Under-17 FIFA World Cup from the South American qualifying tournament in Chile.
The three countries have secured three of the four CONMEBOL tickets on offer to the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 with a match to spare at the South American U-17 Championship in Chile.
The South American U-17 Championship was being held at three cities of Chile.
Colombia are the favourites to take the fourth slot as they need just a point on the final matchday on Sunday to finish ahead of Ecuador and Venezuela and qualify for the U-17 flagship event.