Peru clubs face huge losses after ban

LIMA - Peruvian soccer clubs could lose millions of dollars and face bankruptcy after the country was banned from international competition by FIFA, officials said on Tuesday. World governing body FIFA, which prohibits outside interference in soccer affairs, suspended Peru and their clubs on Monday because of a row between the government's Institute of Sports (IPD) and the Peruvian federation (FPF). FIFA will review the matter in December, when Peru could be disaffiliated altogether. The first effects were felt on Tuesday when Peruvian clubs were left out of the draw for next year's South American Libertadores Cup, made in Asuncion. "For the moment, we've lost $500,000 which we would have earned through qualifying for the Libertadores," said German Leguia, general manager of Lima club Universitario. "If they disaffiliate us altogether, things could get worse." A total ban would also prevent Peruvian clubs from buying, selling or loaning players to or from foreign clubs, a major source of income in a country where attendances for domestic games are often pitiful. "The club would lose around $6 or $7 million a year if that happened," said Leguia. "And if we add the interest which they charge us for not paying certain debts, the sum could reach $20 or $25 million a year." "This would force us to close the club." Defending champions Deportivo San Martin, who lead the second stage of the 2008 championship and are set to qualify for the Libertadores, said they would also be badly hit. "The gate receipts are not very generous in Peru, an international tournament is a good source of income," said general manager Alvaro Barco. The FPF has estimated that money from television rights and merchandising would be halved if the country became isolated from the rest of the soccer world. The row began when the IPD, led by its president Arturo Woodman, ordered the FPF to adapt its statutes to comply with Peruvian law. FPF president Manuel Burga said this would contravene FIFA rules. The two sides have so far been reluctant to negotiate. "I don't think there's a way out," said Leguia. "This is a political matter and a personal dispute. The clubs are going to support Burga."