ZURICH (Reuters) – Sudan was re-admitted to international football by FIFA on Thursday but the decision came too late to prevent two of the country’s clubs from being knocked out of the African Champions League.
The global soccer body said in a statement that it had lifted the suspension imposed on the Sudanese FA (SFA) on July 7 over a decree issued by the country’s Ministry of Justice last month.
The decree, which violated FIFA’s rules banning government interference in its member associations, has been dropped and Mutasim Gaafar reinstated as SFA president along with its board of directors, FIFA said.
Gaafar was removed from his post by the Ministry of Justice, with police evicting members of his executive, and replaced by Abdel Rahman Elkatim.
In the meantime, two Sudanese clubs, both with chances of reaching the African Champions League quarter-finals, forfeited their games 3-0 and as a result were knocked out of the competition.
Khartoum’s two most popular clubs, Al Hilal and Al Merreikh, were paired in the same group in the Champions League and both still had a chance to qualify for the next round.
But with their matches against Etoile Sahel of Tunisia and Ferroviario Beira of Mozambique forfeited, their opponents advanced.
The suspension of a national FA by FIFA means that neither its national teams, nor clubs, can take part in international competition.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing By Christian Radnedge)