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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 14, 2006

FIFA suspend Greece, McClaren debut in doubt

FIFA's emergency committee today decided to suspend the Hellenic Football Federation.

And the ruling appears to cast doubt over Steve McClaren's first match as England manager, which was due to have been a friendly against Greece at Old Trafford on Wednesday, August 16.

The decision means the HFF and all their members (clubs, players, officials) are suspended with immediate effect and until further notice from all international contact, which also includes participation in international competitions at all levels, the organisation of international matches in Greece and the appointment of officials for international duties.

FIFA issued a statement which read: 'The emergency committee, made up of five presidents and one representative of each of the six confederations, decided the HFF are not in line with the principles of the FIFA statutes regarding the independence of member associations and the independence of the decision-making process of the football-governing body in each country.'

The FIFA statement continued: 'In September 2005, the executive committee gave the HFF a deadline of July 15, 2006, to obtain from the Greek government an amendment to the national law on sports in order to enable the association to be in conformity with the FIFA statutes and the relevant UEFA regulations.

'In spite of repeated warnings from both FIFA and UEFA, the commitment expressed by Greek government representatives to amend the law on sport to irrevocably recognise that football matters can only be decided by the HFF and its subordinated football structures has not been respected.

'In fact, the recently-presented draft of a new law on professional leagues constitutes another example of interference from the government in football affairs.

'Therefore, the emergency committee has determined that the deadline would not be met by the HFF and that the suspension of this federation was necessary.'