Mali will not be bullied by FIFA, says minister, as ban hits clubs in CAF comps

March 20 – Mali has hit back at becoming the latest African country to be suspended by FIFA over government inference saying it will not be pushed around and will continue to operate as it sees fit.

In many African countries, FIFA’s strict rules pose problems since football federations often are dependent on government funding.

FIFA banned Mali from international football on Friday after sports minister Minister Housseïni Amion Guindo sacked the executive committee following allegations of fraud during a leadership election last year. He then appointed a provisional committee and ordered the election of a new executive committee within one year.

“We are a sovereign state, which cannot accept to be dragged around by a sporting body, however powerful it is … Mali also has the right to enforce the rules in its country,” Guindo said in an interview in the official newspaper, L’Essor.

He added that the main priority was to find credible people to run the federation.

“We understood that FIFA will not be the solution to this crisis and so as an act of sovereignty we decided to dissolve the governing body of the Malian Football Federation,” he said.

The FIFA ban quickly hit Djoliba and Onze Createurs, two clubs who were prevented from playing in African club competition on Saturday. Both had leads from first leg home matches against Egyptian and Rwandan opposition and had already set off for their return matches.

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