Chile risk FIFA ban over relegation issue

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SANTIAGO - Legal action brought by Chilean club Rangers to try to annul their relegation that could have left Chile suspended by FIFA and out of the World Cup was withdrawn on Thursday.

The creditors of bankrupt Rangers, who are in administration, asked the club's administrator Cristian Herrera to withdraw the action.

"Following the arrival of the FIFA communique, the creditors ... called on me to withdraw the case filed in the courts of justice in order not to prejudice the club," Herrera told the Chilean CDF channel.

World football's governing body FIFA, which does not approve of civil or government intervention in football matters, had earlier given Chile 72 hours to resolve the matter.

"We beseech your association to call on your affiliated club ... to withdraw the case it took to the Chilean courts of justice within the next 72 hours or ... announce the pertinent sanctions against your affiliated club," a FIFA letter sent to Chile's Football Association (ANFP) said.

"If your association does not adopt the necessary measures as we have indicated, the case will be put to FIFA's executive committee in its session of Dec. 3, 2009 in Cape Town... so it considers imposing a suspension against (the ANFP)," added the letter sent to ANFP president Harold Mayne-Nicholls.

DISAFFILIATION FEARS

A court in the city of Talca, where Rangers are based, ordered the suspension of the promotion/relegation playoffs, prompting the ANFP to put this weekend's Clausura championship semi-finals on hold as well until the issue was resolved.

Rangers would have been in the playoffs had they not been automatically relegated after having three points docked for fielding too many foreign players in a match.

The semi-finals were put back on this weekend following a plea from the four teams involved, Colo Colo, Universidad Catolica, La Serena and Santiago Morning.

Mayne-Nicholls, speaking in Asuncion where he attended a meeting of the South American Football Confederation (CSF), had earlier pointed to the risks Rangers' action posed for Chile.

"Those of us in the footballing world know that all this can bring consequences that can be lethal for Chilean football," Mayne-Nicholls said.

"What Rangers have done is prohibited in all the (football) associations in the world. FIFA could even disaffiliate Chile."

Such an outcome could have endangered Chile's participation in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, their first finals since 1998.