Sudan’s ban by FIFA disrupts African club tournaments
The FIFA ban on Sudan’s Football Federation has disrupted this weekend schedule of matches in Africa’s two elite club competitions with three crucial games and clubs from the country suspended. The indefinite ban by FIFA on the SFA s because of an alleged government meddling in its affairs and in the process, forcing out the leadership that’s duly recognised by football governing body. As a fundamental rule of thumb, FIFA’s bylaw does not condone government interference in the activities of its member federations and wants the leadership of Mutasim Gaafar restored to office.
FIFA had been lenient in the imbroglio and gave the warring factions until June 30, 2017, to ameliorate their differences but they failed to do so which led to the sanction. What this means in retrospect is that the three Sudanese clubs, all with a glowing chance of reaching the quarter-finals of the African Champions League and African Confederations Cup have been forestalled from playing their final group games. Al-Hilal and Al-Merreikh, the two most prominent Khartoum-based clubs were paired in the same group in the Champions League and still had a bright chance at qualify. With the ban in place, their opponents, Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia and Ferroviario Berra of Mozambique have both qualified instead.
The football governing body sent a delegation to Khartoum last month to find lasting peace to the factions but it fell on deaf ears. On June 2, 2017, the Sudanese Justice Ministry removed Mutasim Gaafar and used the instruments of the state (Sudanese Police) to violently evict members of his executives. He was replaced with Abdel Rahman Elkatim. With this ban in place, the Confederations of African Football (CAF) must make a last minute dash in appointing new referees for Saturday’s Confederations Cup encounter between Platinum Stars of South Africa and Swaziland’s Mbabane Swallows as the Sudanese trio (Referees and two Linesmen) appointed may no longer officiate the game.