Close button
The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter WhatsApp

FIFA warns soccer legends against Kuwait game


FIFAFIFA has sent a global alert to all members warning them to keep their players away from an “All Stars” game in Kuwait which is suspended by the world body.

Kuwait has invited former international stars such as Steven Gerrard of England and Andrea Pirlo of Italy to take part in the game on December 18 in a bid to break out of its isolation, according to media reports.

But FIFA has written to all 209 member associations warning against registered players taking part in the contest.

Football’s world body and the International Olympic Committee have both suspended Kuwait because of government interference in the Gulf state’s sport. Even the United Nations has become involved in the showdown.

Kuwait’s suspension in October means it is “no longer entitled to take part in international matches and/or competitions until the relevant suspension is no longer in force,” said the FIFA notice sent Wednesday, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

It added that FIFA registered clubs and players “may not entertain sporting contact with the suspended FIFA member association.”

“Such principle is, of course, also to be followed at all sporting levels involving football in the territory of the state of Kuwait,” FIFA ordered.

The world body has also written to the Kuwait Football Association warning that the proposed match between a Kuwait All Stars XI and a Champions Tour XI needs FIFA approval.

A FIFA source told AFP that if FIFA-registered players or agents are involved in the game or its organisation “Any players will be referred to the FIFA disciplinary committee to take the appropriate sanctions against them.”

Gerrard, who plays for Los Angeles Galaxy, and Pirlo, who is now with New York City, are both still FIFA registered.

A Kuwait organising committee statement, quoted by local media, named Gerrard, Pirlo and a host of retired stars including former Italian internationals Allesandro Nesta and Gianluca Zambrotta, Jens Lehman of Germany, England’s Paul Scholes, Jamie Carragher and David James, Carlos Puyol and Michel Salgado of Spain, Brazilian Ronaldinho, Portugal’s Luis Figo and Deco and Robert Pires of France.

Puyol and Pires have said on social media that they will be in Kuwait for the game to inaugurate the 60,000 capacity Al Jaber Stadium.

The statement also said that Pierluigi Collina, once a top FIFA referee, would officiate at the game.

FIFA’s executive decided in September to suspend Kuwait unless it changed its sports law by October 15 so that the KFA and clubs could act “independently.”

It is the third time since 2007 that FIFA has suspended Kuwait over government interference.

The suspension has undermined Kuwait’s bid to reach the 2018 World Cup finals.

The action against Kuwait is an embarrassment for Sheikh Ahmad Fahad al-Ahmad al-Sabah, a FIFA executive member from the Gulf state.

But Kuwait has also been suspended, for the third time in five years, by the IOC, which again discussed the Gulf state’s sports crisis at an executive meeting in Lausanne this week.

“We had an exchange of letters which have not been very helpful, 13 international federations have followed since our suspension,” said IOC member Patrick Hickey.

“We are trying to find a peaceful solution, it’s embarrassing,” he added.

The IOC athletes’ commission members “are determined to make sure athletes of the country don’t suffer, it will be very much on our agenda,” said Hickey.

Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

No comments yet