*We shall not back down despite the suspension – Malian Govt
FIFA has suspended the Malian Football Federation (FEMAFOOT) for government interference after the country’s Sports Minister dissolved the organisation’s entire Executive Committee.
The decision was taken by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and their suspension will begin with immediate effect.
In a statement, world football’s governing body said the ban would only be lifted when the board and President Boubacar Baba Diarra are reinstated.
Mali’s Sports Minister Housseini Amion Guindo controversially sacked the Executive Committee and installed an Interim Committee to run the FEMAFOOT until a new group can be put in place.
He then missed a deadline, which fell last Friday (10th March), to reinstate the fired officials.
The move meant Mali were at risk of a suspension from FIFA, who are attempting to clamp down on Government interference within their member Associations.
“As a result of this decision, FEMAFOOT loses all its membership rights as specified in art. 13 of the FIFA Statutes, with immediate effect and until further notice,” FIFA said in a statement.
“No team from Mali of any sort (including clubs) can take part in international competitions as of 17 March 2017 and until the suspension is lifted.
FIFA said the ban, which deals a blow to football in Mali, would only be lifted when the board and President Boubacar Baba Diarra are reinstated ©Getty Images
“This also means that, as of 17 March 2017, neither FEMAFOOT nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any development programme, course or training from FIFA or the Confederation of African Football (CAF).”
An earlier FIFA statement confirmed the governing body in Mali could be sanctioned for the actions of Guindo after the lawyer for the Minister claimed the dissolution of the Executive Committee will not be reversed.
The lawyer, Amadou Diarra Yalcouye, insisted the move was made to “end the crisis” in Malian football and said the Ministry will refuse to back down. FIFA’s decision plunges football in Mali further into crisis.
It comes after the Malian side produced a poor showing at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon in January.
Mali, ranked 61st in the world, finished third in Group C and scored just one goal and their performance was widely criticised back home.
Their suspension follows the CAF Presidential election, where challenger Ahmad Ahmad, the head of the Madagascar Football Association, ousted incumbent Issa Hayatou, ending the Cameroonian’s 29-year stint at the helm of the organisation.
The FEMAFOOT were able to vote in the election, held in Addis Ababa.