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FIFA Suspends Niger's Football Association - 2004-10-06

Football's world governing body FIFA has suspended Niger's football association because of what it called "repeated interference from political authorities." Wednesday's suspension, which went into effect immediately, will not affect Africa's World Cup qualifying tournament because Niger has already been eliminated. The team lost to Algeria by a 7-0 aggregate in the first round, failing to reach the group stage.

FIFA also issued warnings to Ethiopia, Greece and Nigeria Wednesday, telling the countries to resolve their internal problems. Last month, FIFA's associations committee said it was worried about a "considerable increase" in government interference. FIFA's rules say national soccer federations should be independent from governments. In 2003, FIFA suspended Azerbaijan for one month because of political interference. In June of this year, FIFA banned Kenya from international competition for around two months, after the African nation's government took over the federation because of corruption.