FIFA lifts Belize suspension

BERNE - Belize's international suspension has been provisionally lifted by FIFA and their World Cup qualifier at home to Montserrat will go ahead but on neutral territory, football's governing body said on Thursday.

The Central Americans were banned on June 17, two days after beating Montserrat 5-2 in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, over government interference in the Belize federation (FFB).

FIFA called off the return match in Belize after the country's government, refusing to recognise either the FFB or the team as representatives of the country, said it would not provide security for the game.

"The provisional measure will allow the return leg of the qualifying tie for the 2014 FIFA World Cup between Belize and Montserrat, originally due to be played on June 19 2011, to finally take place," FIFA said.

"This return match will now be played before July 17 2011 outside of Belize in order to avoid the risk of the Belizean authorities not providing security guarantees."

FIFA added that the suspension would be automatically reinstated on August 15 "should the FFB not be able to definitively settle the issues at stake with the authorities."

The Belize government has said it refused to recognise the FFB because it has failed to meet the requirements for registration with the National Sports Council.

The Belize-Montserrat meeting is one of five two-leg preliminary round ties featuring the lowest ranked teams in the CONCACAF region.

Montserrat also had to play their home game on neutral territory in Trinidad & Tobago as the island does not have a suitable venue.


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