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

Tunisia defender Dylan Bron sent off in friendly against Brazil
Tunisia lost 5-1 in a friendly in Brazil last month after Dylan Braun was sent off.

Fifa, the world governing body, has warned that if the Tunisian government interferes in football affairs, Tunisia may be excluded from the World Cup in Qatar next month.

Fifa’s member confederations must be free from legal and political interference.

The warning comes after repeated comments by Tunisia’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Kamel Deguiche, about the possibility of “dissolving the Federal Bureau”.

Fifa viewed his statement as an attempt to interfere in the functioning of the country’s football federation (FTF), and has demanded an explanation for attempts to interfere in its internal affairs and threats to dissolve its office.

The Zurich-based organization reminded the FTF that member unions are “legally obliged to conduct their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties”.

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“Failure to comply with these obligations may result in the imposition of penalties under Fifa rules, including suspension of the association concerned,” FIFA’s director of member associations Kenny Jean-Marie wrote in a letter to FTF general secretary Wajdi Aouadi.

A possible Fifa ban means no Tunisian club or national side can play in continental or international competitions.

The 2004 African champions will face World Cup holders France, Denmark and Australia in Group D in Qatar next month.

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

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FIFA has given the FTF no later than Friday to respond to its position following the minister’s statement.

Serious allegations have been leveled against the FTF in recent times, with one club, Chebba, accusing the body and its president, Wadie Jary. Knowingly misleading the arbitral tribunal for the game in April 2021 – before the sport’s highest legal body ruled in the club’s favor later that year.

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

FIFA has already acted this year on other cases of state interference in football with the African duo. Kenya and Zimbabwe are currently suspended.

India was also banned in August due to “improper influence by third parties”, and the country’s hosting of this month’s Under-17 Women’s World Cup is in doubt, but FIFA The ban on India was lifted Later that month.

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Analysis by Tunisian sports journalist Souhail Khmira

“There is not one specific statement that concerns FIFA – it is many.

“For the past few months the Sports Minister has asked the FTF to postpone the domestic league and review the start dates.

At one point he insisted that the Sports Ministry had the power to dissolve the federal bureau under Tunisian law.

“The FTF saw it as a threat. That constant harassment was considered interference, which is what FIFA refers to.”

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