Portugal approves rules to avert FIFA ban

LISBON, March 19 (Reuters) - The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) approved new statutes that conform with FIFA rules on Saturday in a vote that averted the threat of an international ban for the country's national and club sides.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter this month urged the FPF to approve the new statutes after Portugal's regional associations had rejected them because they feared losing influence at national level.

The world football body had threatened sanctions, including possible suspensions that would have put the national side's 2012 European Championship qualifiers at risk and barred the country's top clubs from UEFA competitions.

The FPF said in a statement that the new statutes were approved with 81 percent support. They will transfer significant voting power from regional associations to the country's leagues, players' unions, referees and coaches.