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FIFA threatens to sanction DR Congo

DRC-NIGERKINSHASA, DRC, March 7 – Football’s world governing body has threatened to suspend the Democratic Republic of Congo from competition because of an alleged contravention of its rules on political interference.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke wrote to the country’s sports minister Baudouin Banza Mukalay calling on him to “reconsider a circular” dating from last year, which he said called into question the football federation’s independence.

The November 28 circular to all football club presidents called on them only to use stadia owned by the state.

If no action were taken, “FIFA would be obliged to sanction (the Congolese football federation) FECOFA, which would very likely mean a suspension in the form of similar examples elsewhere,” Valcke added.

A sanction would likely mean that “any national team or club and FECOFA official would not be able to having sporting relations” either in Africa or beyond, the letter went on.

“It would be really regrettable if FECOFA found itself sanctioned at the same time as the national men’s team of the DR Congo still had every chance of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, not to mention other national and continental competition.”

There was no immediate response from the sports ministry when contacted by AFP.

A copy of the letter has been sent to the federation and the Confederation of African Football (CAF), which governs football on the continent.

The development comes after the DRC last month threw its hat into the ring to host the 2019 edition of the African Cup of Nations.

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