Belize warned on eve of World Cup qualifier

FIFA have warned Belize they could face sanctions over government interference in the Central American country’s football federation.As the nation’s football team prepare for Wednesday’s opening qualifying game for the 2014 World Cup against Montserrat, FIFA have told Reuters they are monitoring the situation in Belize very closely.

“If the current situation of apparent governmental interference is not resolved by June 30, it will be referred to the FIFA emergency committee for evaluation and potential sanctions,” a FIFA email said.

The incident is the latest scandal to hit American soccer, after FIFA’s suspension of CONCACAF president Jack Warner over bribery allegations in the lead-up to the June 1 FIFA presidential election.

The acting president, Lisle Austin, was then removed from his post for an infringement of a CONCACAF statute.

The Belize government believes their football federation (FFB) failed to register with the country’s National Sports Council, and Belize sports minister John Saldivar said the government had been in contact with FIFA.

“I’ve written to the president (Sepp Blatter) reminding him that the government of Belize has an obligation to uphold the laws of Belize and urging him to convince the FFB to comply,” he told Belize’s Channel Seven.

“We have already informed FIFA that the FFB is not authorised to represent our country. So whatever selection they have put together cannot play as the national selection of Belize.”