Between 2000 and 2010, nearly a dozen African associations, including Nigeria, Kenya, Chad, Madagascar and Ethiopia, were suspended. Kenya’s previous suspension was in 2004. Botswana and Togo were on the verge of facing similar punishment.
Given the massive inflow of funds from FIFA and the popularity of football, African governments tend to give in to FIFA demands to reinstate officials. The typical way back is to agree to the formation of a “normalisation committee” by the international federation in return for a lifting of the suspension.
The suspension of members by FIFA over what it calls third-party interference (mainly governments) goes back to 1990. Small, economically weak countries were the main target at first. The list included Greece, Cameroon, Sudan, Indonesia and Albania.
By 2000, during Sepp Blatter’s term as FIFA president, the number of cases in which FIFA had intervened on behalf of member associations facing some element of loss of control to government agencies had increased from four to 13. On the list were Namibia, Poland, Zambia, Hungary, Cameroon (again), Benin, Guinea, Tanzania, and Brazil.
In every case but one – Guinea’s suspension lasted two years – the targeted governments quickly complied with FIFA’s demands.