ZURICH/BUENOS AIRES: The Argentinian football federation has been warned by FIFA that it risks suspension if it does not accept South American governing body CONMEBOL as arbiter in vetting candidates for its presidential elections.

This follows a tangled process within the domestic game over the presidential succession to the late Julio Grondona and the long-drawn-out negotiations over league television rights.

In January Diego Maradona returned from the FIFA Gala in Zurich saying that the world federation was growing impatient at the domestic impasse. Now the warning has come only three weeks before Argentina’s crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Bolivia.

The AFA voted for a modification to an article in its new statutes last week naming the College of Lawyers of Buenos Aires and not CONMEBOL’s ethics committee as the vetting body of potential election candidates for the March 29 vote.

FIFA and CONMEBOL, in a joint statement, poimted out that all the region’s football federations recognised the South American body’s right to do the vetting.

It added: “Failure to comply … could result in a possible sanction, one option being a suspension for the AFA.”

Argentina, who face Chile at home on March 23 and visit Bolivia five days later, need to climb from fifth place in the 10-nation South American group into the top four qualifying berths.

The team finishing fifth goes into a continental playoff. There are six rounds of matches to go.