FIFA Suspends Lebanese Football Body
Football's world governing body FIFA has suspended the Lebanon Football Association (LFA) following its dissolution by the country's sports minister, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said Monday.
AFC general secretary Peter Velappan urged Lebanese football fans to remain calm, but criticized the Lebanese government's actions.
"Both FIFA and the AFC object to government interference in matters concerning our members.
"FIFA was forced to intervene and suspend the LFA as a result of the dissolution and to avoid further complications to the whole issue," the Asian football supremo said in a statement.
Lebanese sports minister Sebouh Hovnanian dissolved the LFA two weeks ago because it had allegedly held meetings in defiance of regulations, an AFC official said.
FIFA announced the suspension Saturday in Buenos Aires, the official said, adding that FIFA's statutes prohibit governmental interference in the administration of football in its affiliates.
Velappan said FIFA and the AFC would send a delegation headed by AFC vice president Asad Taqi of Kuwait to Lebanon, who only last year hosted the Asian Cup, to look into the problem.
"We hope the whole matter can be resolved speedily with FIFA and the AFC now sending a delegation to Lebanon to investigate the situation," he said.
He said the issue of the LFA's suspension was highlighted at the FIFA Extraordinary Congress held in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
"I urge as such, all parties concerned, to stay calm and not resort to any action that can hurt the future of Lebanese football," Velappan said.
Hovnanian said he had been expecting FIFA to take such a step.
"It is a natural step that we had been expecting, including the decision to send in a delegation to investigate the situation," he said.
Hovnanian, who ordered a general assembly of the LFA to be held within one to three months, was speaking to reporters after a meeting in Beirut with Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and members of the LFA interim committee which replaced the governing body removed by the minister on June 28 -- KUALA LUMPUR (AFP)
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