Zimbabwe have been expelled from the qualifying competition for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after not paying an outstanding debt to their former coach.
The African country had been given several deadlines and warnings by Fifa to settle the debt with the Brazilian José Claudinei Georgini, nicknamed Valinhos, who managed the national team from January to November 2008.
The Zimbabwe Football Association has not paid up, however, and has now been expelled from the tournament.
A Fifa statement said: “The Fifa disciplinary committee today notified the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) that it was expelled from the preliminary competition of the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia.”
ZIFA had failed to pay the outstanding amount despite twice being ordered to do so by FIFA’s disciplinary committee, soccer’s governing body added.
“ZIFA was informed that the expulsion would be ordered automatically without any further decision needed from the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and, once more, ZIFA did not appeal the decision,” said FIFA.
“Given ZIFA’s failure to make any payment within the granted periods and the request presented by the creditor, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee – in line with its second decision – ordered the expulsion of ZIFA from the preliminary competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.”
Georgini, a Brazilian usually known as Valinhos, briefly coached Zimbabwe in 2008.
The African World Cup qualifiers are due to start in October, with the draw to be conducted in Russia on July 25.
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