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Chile Out of the 2010 World Cup?

By Tom Sheldrick

FIFA is preparing to throw Chile out of the 2010 World Cup, if the Chilean Football Association does not stop relegated club Rangers from appealing their demotion at the Chilean Courts of Justice.

Rangers were docked three points for fielding one foreign player too many in a match on November 8th. The deducted points resulted in their relegation from the Primera División. FIFA do not approve of civil intervention in football, and has written to the Chilean football authorities telling them to persuade Rangers to drop the case, or the national side may be banned from the World Cup when FIFA’s executive committee meets next week.

FIFA’s letter of ultimatum was sent to Chilean National Professional Football Association (ANFP) President Harold Mayne-Nicholls, who admitted on Radio Agricultura: ‘If Rangers don't drop the case, then FIFA could expel (the national team) because they can't expel a club. This could bring consequences that would be deadly for Chilean football.’

Chile sealed qualification for their eighth World Cup by beating Colombia 4-2 on October 10th, eventually finishing runners-up to Brazil in the South American qualifying table.

Club Social de Deportes Rangers play in the city of Talca, Central Chile.

Update: It's almost like Chile was just trying to get some attention. Which is understandable, since they're never talk about in world soccer circles very much. For the countries of South America, it's always about Argentina and maybe Uruguay.

Chile's spot at the 2010 World Cup is safe after a local club withdrew legal action that had drawn the ire of FIFA and put the nation's status in international football at risk.

FIFA had given Chile's football association (ANFP) 72 hours to make Rangers drop a court case that disputed their relegation from the Clausura championship, or else risk a FIFA suspension and the prospect of forfeiting their World Cup berth.

Rangers took action after they were docked three points for fielding one too many foreign players under the Clausura's 6+5 rule. This consigned them to automatic relegation, but their dispute caused the play-offs for relegation and promotion, plus the championship's semi-finals, to be put on hold.

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Tom Sheldrick is a freelance writer and can be reached at: tomsheldrick@hotmail.com


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