Tunisia’s World Cup participation at risk over state interference

By David Ochieng Mbewa

Tunisia’s participation at the World Cup may be under threat if there is found to be government interference within the North African country’s football federation, said the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA).

FIFA sent a letter to the Tunisian Football Federation (TFF) this week in response to alleged threats by the Youth and Sports Minister Kamel Deguiche to dissolve certain federal offices and other comments that have rattled the organization.

FILE PHOTO: Tunisia players celebrate after qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2022 after their match against Mali at the Olympic Stadium in Rades, Tunisia. /CFP

In the letter addressed to the general secretary of the TFF, Wajdi Aouadi, FIFA reminded the association of its duty to act independently and avoid unwarranted influence by third parties.

“Any failure to comply with these obligations may result in the imposition of penalties under the FIFA laws, including suspension of the relevant association,” the letter from Kenny Jean-Marie, FIFA’s director of member associations, said.

Tunisia was drawn in Group D along with defending champions France, Australia and Denmark.

The Eagles of Carthage will face Denmark in their opening match on November 22.

If Tunisia were suspended, they would become the third African country to be sanctioned by FIFA this year after Kenya and Zimbabwe. Kenya and Zimbabwe were both suspended indefinitely in February over government interference.

(Story compiled with assistance from reports)

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