FIFA suspended the national teams of Zimbabwe and Kenya from international competitions due to major issues with their respective national football governing bodies. Both football teams were banned by FIFA for government interference in their soccer bodies. National teams and clubs will both be barred from participating in international competitions under the ban. FIFA will also cut off the funds until the bans have been lifted.
Why did FIFA ban Zimbabwe?
According to AP, FIFA banned Zimbabwe after its Sport and Recreation Commission, a government-run body, refused to stop controlling the Zimbabwe Football Association and restore ZIFA’s leadership. Earlier in November 2021, ZIFA officials were removed from office for alleged corruption. Zimbabwe was supposed to reinstate ZIFA officials by January 3 but failed to act. Zimbabwe was permitted to participate in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations(AFCON) in Cameroon in January and February.
Why did FIFA ban Kenya?
Kenya was banned after its federation leaders were accused of corruption by the sports ministry. Nick Mwendwa, the Kenyan soccer president, is under investigation. The Kenyan women’s football team has already been eliminated from the AFCON qualifying tournament because of the ongoing crisis.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced the bans on Thursday. The AP reports that the bans on both African nations will only be lifted if their respective governments permit the national soccer bodies to operate normally. FIFA has assured the investigations into the alleged corruption and sexual harassment of soccer officials in Zimbabwe that it will cooperate.
Russia-Ukraine war takes a hit on FIFA and UEFA events
Zimbabwe and Kenya were banned by FIFA, but the world was shocked to learn about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin declared war on his neighbors on Thursday. Due to the raging Russia-Ukraine war, major sporting events around the world have already started to adjust their fixtures.
Football associations from Poland, the Czech Republic, and Sweden have already refused to travel to Russia for their qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup 2022. FIFA was also asked to cancel its upcoming matches in Russia by the federations. UEFA announced on Friday that the Champions League final in 2021 will now take place in Paris, rather than St. Petersburg, Russia.