FIFA cancels corrected ranking, keeping Egypt in Pot 2
In a dramatic, though not unexpected turn of events, FIFA has decided to nullify a previously announced “special” ranking set for June 21 that was meant to correct seeding of African teams for 2018 World Cup qualifying.
The new ranking was meant to correct what fans and pundits viewed was a highly suspicious “special” ranking issued on June 7 meant to place Tunisia in Pot 1 in place of Egypt, despite the Pharaohs being ranked higher in FIFA’s own June World Ranking, in addition to the May and pending July rankings. The timing, content, and dissemination of the the special ranking was heavily criticized, forcing FIFA – much maligned for its multiple corruption scandals – to reconsider the unprecedented off-schedule ranking in attempt to salvage transparency.
The news was first broken by Qatari outlet beIN Sports, who also first reported the June 7 ranking.
Details are still emerging, but it appears the Tunisian Football Federation was able to execute what many expected it would attempt… to sow enough discord within African federations so as to delay the new ranking, making it seem as though FIFA was forced to revert back to the abnormal June 7 ranking.
Many believe threats to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) also swayed FIFA.
The official word from FIFA was a vague one centered around the specific date of the first “special” ranking, and ignored the multitude of other irregularities brought to their attention in the EFA’s official protest.
There are no details yet regarding what effort the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) did or did not exert to prevent the successful Tunisian lobby, but the news is another setback for EFA presidential hopeful Hany Abou Rida, who guaranteed that Egypt would be in Pot 1 before refusing to take the EFA’s protest to CAS.
Tunisia has successfully lobbied FIFA on multiple occasions since 2013.
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