Politicians the world over enjoy being in the limelight because of sport and especially football.

Governments can be of great help to football’s governing bodies in many ways, especially in giving assistance with facilities.

But there is a problem when governments seek to control how an association is run.

Rightly, the FIFA statutes do not allow political interference in the affairs of its member associations.

Over the years FIFA has banned a number of countries of associations because of such interference – Greece, Kuwait, Brunei, Peru, Iran, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Iraq are possibly the most recent.

Iraq, for example was banned in November 2009 for government interference and the ban lasted over a year. This meant that everyone connected with the Iraqi Football Federation during this time could take no part in international sport.

The national team was banned as were all Iraq’s international referees.

Today, The Football Association has been given a deadline of 29th February 2012 to bring in rules tackling debt levels at clubs or face government action.

Members of Parliament have also warned that if the governance of football in England is not changed by the FA itself, then the UK government will take action.

This is a serious challenge to the English game which includes not only the English national teams and grass roots football all over the country but also the Barclays Premier League, the wealthiest league in world football.

Another question is whether FIFA will become involved.

There are many things happening at FIFA just now with the Ethics Committee investigations into alleged corruption and Sepp Blatter still to reveal his long awaited plan to introduce transparency in the FIFA organisation.

England is a big fish, but there is no love lost between FIFA and the FA, especially after England lost the bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Could FIFA ban the FA for government interference?

Certainly not immediately, but don’t be surprised if it sounds a few alarm bells just to let the FA know it is on the case.

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