Thursday, 9 February, 2023

Sri Lanka unlikely in SAFF Championship

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 24 January, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Sri Lanka unlikely in SAFF Championship

Sri Lanka, which previously showed interest to host the upcoming 14th SAFF Championship, suffered a big blow after FIFA banned them for an indefinite period which also cast doubts on their participation in the prestigious regional football competition.

The governing body of world football suspended the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) on Sunday, a month after issuing it with a ‘red notice’ over governance issues.

That warning came after the Ministry of Sports introduced a raft of regulations that reportedly compromised the autonomy and independence of national sports bodies including FFSL.

FFSL held an election this month which reportedly fell short of standards agreed upon with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), in which an ally of the sports minister became chair.

“South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) is a part of FIFA and AFC. FIFA suspended FFSL, which means they will not take part in any international competitions under SAFF,” SAFF General Secretary Anwarul Huq Helal told The Daily Sun on Monday.

“We don’t know when FIFA will lift the suspension. We still have time for the SAFF Championship. If FIFA lifts the suspension on FFSL at least one or two months before the competition, they may take part there,” he added.

The upcoming SAFF Championship is expected to be held between June 20 to July 2 this year.

Meanwhile, the SAFF calendar will start with the U-20 Women’s Championship on February 3-9 in Dhaka and it will be followed by the U-17 Women’s Championship on March 20-31 in Dhaka. Sri Lanka are not taking part in these age-level events.