LAUSANNE: The African qualifying section of the World Cup has been cast into confusion because Cape Verde have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against their expulsion for fielding an ineligible player.
Cape Verde, who beat Tunisia 2-0 away to finish top of African Group B, forfeited the match after FIFA ruled that defender Fernando Varela had been ineligible to play.
However, their case rests on the fact that Varela had been banned for four matches after being sent off in an earlier Group B game against Equatorial Guinea, which Cape Verde lost 4-3.
That result itself was overturned, and the game awarded to Cape Verde 3-0, after FIFA ruled that Equatorial Guinea’s Emilio Nsue, who scored a hat-trick, was not eligible to play.
Tunisia were awarded a 3-0 win which put them top of the group and into the playoff round in Cape Verde’s place.
The Tunisians have already played the first leg of their playoff, drawing 0-0 at home to Cameroon last month.
Cape Verde argued that the red card and subsequent ban should not have counted as the match had been declared void.
The second leg of the play-off is due to be played on November 17 in Yaounde with the World Cup finals taking place three weeks after that in Salvador, Brazil.
CAS has yet to indicate whether the complaint will be considered under the fast-track procedure employed earlier this year when two Turkish clubs appealed against a UEFA ban shortly before the draws for the group stages of the Champions League and Europa League.