Kenya banned from international soccer
June 2, 2004
ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) -- Kenya was banned from international soccer on Wednesday by FIFA, which cited government interference in the country's national federation.
The ruling bars Kenya's national teams and clubs from exhibitions or international games, including the qualifying campaign for the 2006 World Cup.
Kenya, ranked 74th of FIFA's 204 member federations, was to play Guinea on June 5. Kenya began playing qualifiers in 1974 but has never advanced to the World Cup.
Kenyan authorities committed a ``clear violation'' of FIFA statutes, the world governing body said. FIFA, which gives financial help to soccer federations in developing countries, also said it had frozen payments to Kenya.
Kenya Sports Minister Najib Balala said FIFA's action was misguided and no solution to the years of mismanagement and corruption that have beset the country's soccer federation.There was no immediate comment from the federation.
In March, the Kenyan government appointed a new committee to run the Kenyan soccer federation, blocked the organization's elections and closed its headquarters.
FIFA said it ``does not ignore the difficulties faced by Kenyan football,'' but said ``blatant interference'' in local soccer matters violates FIFA principles and ``cannot be accepted.''