FIFA suspend Zimbabwe, Kenya over government interference

FIFA on Thursday banned Zimbabwe and Kenya from international competitions over government interference in the running of their national football associations.

Zimbabwe was banned after the government-run Sport and Recreation Commission refused to relinquish control of the Football Association of Zimbabwe and restore governance of the federation.

ZIFA officials were removed from their posts in November over corruption allegations.

Kenya was banned after its sports ministry also ousted the leaders of the football federation, accusing them of corruption. Kenyan football president Nick Mwendwa faces criminal prosecution.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced the bans.

This means that the national teams and clubs of Zimbabwe and Kenya cannot participate in international competitions. Funds from FIFA are also being cut.

Kenya’s women’s national team had already been kicked out of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations because of the association crisis.

World football’s governing body ordered Zimbabwe to reinstate its football officials by January 3, but delayed all action and allowed Zimbabwe to play the men’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon in January and February.

The bans on the two African nations will be lifted when their governments allow the federations to resume normal operations.

FIFA said it will cooperate in investigations into alleged corruption and sexual harassment by Zimbabwean football officials.

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