The FIFA Emergency Committee decided today, 17 June 2011, to suspend the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) with immediate effect on account of severe governmental interference. The suspension means that the return leg of the qualifying tie for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, due to be played in Belize on 19 June between the home team and Montserrat, has been postponed. The first game, played in Couva (Trinidad & Tobago) on 15 June, was won 5-2 by Belize.

On 8 June, the government of Belize, through the Ministry of Sports, informed the FFB that it was “not authorized to represent this Country in any local or international competition or in any other forum for football on behalf of the Government, People and Nation of Belize”, since it had “failed to meet the requirements for registration with the Council, as the National body for the administration of football in Belize”, according to the Ministry.

Two days later, FIFA wrote to the FFB to inform them that this was a clear case of governmental interference and gave the FFB until 30 June to settle the dispute or be referred to the FIFA Emergency Committee for suspension due to a violation of the FIFA Statutes. However, the Belize government wrote to FIFA on 16 June saying the Belize police would “not be providing any services to the Federation with respect to the security of the visiting team and officials at the match” to be played on 19 June.

Under these circumstances, and due to the interference of the government of Belize, FIFA cannot take the responsibility of letting the match take place. The match has therefore been postponed to a new date to be confirmed, but no later than 10 July 2011, provided that the situation is back to normal regarding the FFB and the suspension has been lifted by that date. In the event that the match cannot take place by that date, the national “A” team of Belize will be excluded from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ preliminary competition.

The suspension will be in place until the Belize government reverses its decision. Any action taken by the government against the office-bearers of the FFB will not be recognised by FIFA.