Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team banned by FIFA

Saturday, April 2, 2011

File photo of FIFA Sonnenberg Convention Center, in Zurich.
Image: Marcello Casal Jr. / ABr.

The national football team of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been banned by FIFA, the sport's international governing body. The ban comes after the Bosnian Football Federation (NSBIH) rejected a demand from FIFA to change its three-man presidency to a single president. The change was rejected on Wednesday during an NSBIH meeting, causing FIFA and European football governing body UEFA to make the decision to suspend the federation.

FIFA and UEFA said in a statement that "[t]he NSBIH representative and club teams are no longer entitled to take part in international competitions as of 1 April 2011 and until the aforementioned problem is solved. This also means that, as of 1 April 2011, no NSIBH official or representative may participate in any international match or event."

The Bosnia and Herzegovina national team's manager, Safet Susic, spoke out against FIFA's ruling, blaming politics for the demand not being met. He said "[t]here is absolutely no chance that the NSBIH might find a way out of the present deadlock and get the job done. These people are incapable of running the NSBIH properly, although this situation is partly a result of political orders because Bosnia is an ethnically divided country where a dysfunctional system has now caught up with football. Denying the players a chance to perform on the big stage through no fault of their own is like sending innocent people to prison."

Bosnia and Herzegovina are currently competing in the qualifying stage of the 2012 European championship. Bosnia are only five points behind group leaders France, and hold a game in hand over both Belarus and Albania. Unless FIFA's ruling is reversed, it seems unlikely that Bosnia's next game against Romania on June 3 will take place.