RIO DE JANEIRO: Ethiopia, Togo and Equatorial Guinea all face the disciplinary wrath of FIFA after the latest allegations of countries fielding ineligible players in the World Cup qualifiers.
The world football federation has opened disciplinary proceedings according to secretary-general Jerome Valcke, speaking on the second day of the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
FIFA said in a statement that Ethiopia, who hours earlier on Sunday beat South Africa 2-1 to finish top of Group A, had allegedly fielded an ineligible player in the match away to Botswana on June 8, which they also won 2-1.
If Ethiopia are docked three points from the game, it will mean South Africa, who as things stand are out of the running, may still be able to qualify for the 2014 finals in Brazil as they will be only two points behind with one game each to play.
Togo will be investigated over a player they fielded in the 2-0 win over Cameroon in Group I on June 9 while proceedings were opened against Equatorial Guinea following the 4-3 win over Cape Verde on March 24.
FIFA said that a decision – unstated – had already been made in the case involving Equatorial Guinea whose federation had appealed against it.
Togo and Equatorial Guinea are both out of contention but a change in either result would have a big influence on the respective groups.
Cameroonwould go one point clear of Libya at the top of their group if they were awarded a win against Togo while Cape Verde would move within two points of Group B leaders Tunisia, who they visit in their final game.
The winners of the 10 groups will take part in two-leg playoffs to decide African’s five representatives at next year’s World Cup.
Sudan and Gabonhave already been docked three points, which were awarded to their opponents, for breaking rules on player eligibility.
Sudan’s 2-0 win over Zambia in Group D became a 3-0 defeat after Saif Eldin Ali Hidris was included in the team, and scored the second goal, despite being sent off in their previous match.
Gabon were also found guilty of fielding an ineligible player away to Niger, which ended 0-0, and were also penalised with a 3-0 defeat.
FIFA’s disciplinary committee ruled that Gabon defender Charly Moussono was not eligible to play as he had represented Cameroon in the 2006 Beach World Cup in Brazil.
Oil-rich Equatorial Guinea routinely field a mix of Spanish-based players, who qualify through their parents, and naturalised players from Brazil, Liberia, Cameroon and Cape Verde.
There has been controversy over whether the naturalised players have lived in the country for five years as required by FIFA rules.