7 July 2017

Sudan: FIFA Freezes Sudan's Membership

Photo: Confédération Africaine de Football
Sudan's Al Merreikh (file photo).

Khartoum — The World football governing body, The FIFA, Thursday night announced the freezing of the activity of the Sudanese Football Association (SFA) after the country's legal authorities failed to compel a rival group to the SFA sitting executive committee to evacuate the Federation's premises it earlier occupied upon a ruling by the Justice Ministry.

In a letter to the SFA the FIFA said it took note that the SFA premises was still under occupation by the said group and said that it was shelving the Sudan FIFA membership until this group evacuates the premises and allows the incumbent executive committee to dispense its duties.

The FIFA has reportedly notified the Confederation of African Football (CAF) of its decision that, accordingly, froze the activity of Sudan and annulled scheduled matches for Friday and Saturday in the CAF Champions League and the Confederation Cup contests. According to the decision the matches of the Merrikh and al-Hilal clubs against the champions of Tunisia and Mozambique (respectively) in the champion's league were declared cancelled. Hilal al-Obied, which was scheduled to clash FC Zisco of Zambia in Lusaka on Saturday, was also reportedly notified that that match was cancelled.

The Sudanese Minister of Youth and Sports last week announced that the contending groups for the SFA leadership had reached a compromise agreement and that the group that occupied the SFA premises had agreed to evacuate it. He said the two groups had agreed to jointly run the SFA activity until a new election is held on October 30, as the FIFA had earlier ruled.

But member of the contending group Saif Eddin al-Kamleen Thursday argued that they would not leave the SFA premises until they receive a ruling from the Justice Ministry annulling its previous decision, a matter that did not happen.

The dispute had erupted in April between the sitting executives of the SFA, led by Dr. Mu'tasim Ja'afar and a contesting group, led by Army Lt. General Abderahman Sirralkhatim, a former defense minister, on electing a new executive.

An SFA general assembly ruled in the latter's favor, asking for the elections to be held immediately. But the incumbents argued that the elections should be deferred until after the SFA law is reformed as the FIFA had advised. Here the General's group insisted upon the elections. The SFA elections committee chairman distanced himself from the affair. Other members of the elections committee went ahead with the general Assembly that gave a sweeping victory to the Siralkatim group. The incumbent executive committee had boycotted the process.

The SFA incumbents considered the elections null and void, refused a handover and reported the matter to the FIFA.

The elected group first tried to take the SFA premises by force but failed to do so. They then filed a complaint with the Ministry of Justice that ruled in their favor, ordering the SFA premises to be evacuated from the incumbents and allowed the new executives to get in.

Before the elections, the incumbents had petitioned with the FIFA for an election delay until the SFA law is reformed, a petition the FIFA had accepted. They also cited wide scale government interference in the election process, in particular from the state security. They reportedly supplied the FIFA with a video in which one of the voters allegedly confessed that he was coerced by the security to vote for the Siralkhatim group.

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