Sports News

FIFA lift Myanmar World Cup ban on appeal

Water flows over the FIFA logo in front of the FIFA headquarters during heavy rainfall in Zurich July 22, 2011. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/Files

ZURICH (Reuters) - Myanmar’s ban from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers has been lifted on appeal but they must play all their qualifying home games on neutral territory, FIFA said on Monday.

Myanmar, who have never qualified for the World Cup finals, were initially banned by FIFA after crowd trouble halted their 2014 Asian qualifying match against Oman in July.

“The Myanmar Football Federation will be ... reintegrated into the preliminary competition,” said FIFA in a statement.

“(Myanmar) will now be required to play all their home matches in the preliminary competition for the 2018 World Cup on neutral ground in another country.”

Myanmar will still have to pay a fine of 25,000 Swiss francs ($28,000).

Already 2-0 down from the first leg in the preliminary round tie, Myanmar were also trailing 2-0 in the second leg in their capital Yangon when the violence broke out just before the end of the first half.

FIFA immediately awarded Oman a 2-0 victory which saw them through to the next stage and left Myanmar eliminated from the 2014 competition.

Japanese referee Ryuji Sato was forced to halt the game two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half when fans hurled rocks and glass bottles at him, visiting coach Paul Le Guen and the Oman players.

Despite a heavy police presence, Myanmar fans turned unruly when Sato awarded a penalty to Oman with the home side already trailing 1-0.

Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Peter Rutherford; To query or comment on this story email