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A closer look at FIFA’s ban on Peru

PeruNationalTeam (Reuters) 

Peruvian soccer is in a world of hurt.

That wasn't exactly a secret, but things hit rock bottom last week after FIFA's decision to ban Peru over government interference. While the news was awful on many levels, it just might be the smack in the face Peruvian soccer needs to straighten itself out after more than two decades of misery.

SBI correspondent GianFranco Panizo takes a closer look at the mess in Peru and whether or not it will be cleaned up in time to avoid serious damage to an already fragile soccer system:


Amid scandals, continuous talk of yet another coaching change and being in the basement of CONMEBOL's World Cup qualifying table, it was tough to imagine that things could get worse for the Peruvian national team. Worse is exactly what things got after FIFA announced its decision to ban Peru from all international competition last week due to a dispute between Peru's soccer federation (FPF) and the Peruvian government.

FIFA, which prohibits government interference, suspended all Peruvian clubs from playing internationally due to a debate that stemmed between the government's Institute of Sports (IPD) and the Peruvian federation over the appointment of FPF president Manuel Burga.

The ban has not only hurt the already tainted image of Peru, but it is also costing club teams a substantial amount of revenue.

"For the moment, we’ve lost $500,000 which we would have earned through qualifying for the (Copa)Libertadores.” said Universitario general manager German Leguia.

Even with the chaotic state that Peruvian soccer is currently in, the IPD has refused to negotiate with the FPF unless Burga is removed as president.

"If Burga's position is going to remain the same as before … this is a dialogue of the deaf," said IPD president Arturo Woodman.

Burga on the other hand has expressed his deepest sympathy to the public.

"I want to apologise for the Peruvian people for the situation which we are going through."

With the two sides so far apart, the FPF and IPD have until December 19, when the FIFA executive committee meets in Tokyo, to settle their differences. FIFA may just permanently ban Peru if the no compromise has been met.

"If they disaffiliate us altogether, things could get worse,” said Leguia.

This story is just the most recent embarassment for Peruvian soccer. Earlier this year Jose "Chemo" Del Solar's team suffered from another shameful story as the quartet of Claudio Pizarro, Jefferson Farfan, Andres Mendoza and Santiago Acasiete were accused of staying up past curfew, sneaking women into the hotel and partying the night away just two days prior to a World Cup qualifer at Ecuador. Peru ended up losing that game 5-1.

What's my take on this debacle? I think that these recent turn of events are just another blow to a once respected federation. Peru's national team, which was a promising side in the 70s and early 80s, has become a bottom feeder in the CONMEBOL and things don't look to be changing for the better anytime soon. It appears the whole federation needs to be revamped from the bottom-up.

To add to insult to injury, yesterday's match between two semi-professional teams ended in mayhem as fans caused a riot and even set a police car on fire. Early reports are saying around 100 people were injured.

It's safe to say that Peruvian soccer is in shambles.

What do you think of the Peruvian soccer crisis? Is FIFA out of line? Do you see this as a necessary step in order to help Peru straighten itself out?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I love Peru. Was just there in September. Visited Lima, Cuzco and even watched Peru tie Argentina in a WCC match while in Argentina 1-1 which was very uplifting. Sure, people may say FIFA is corrupt but it is the governing body and holds the sport together globally. Name another governing body that can do that? It probably is no less corrupt than the UN. Sort it out Peru, you have some great players and need to get back to the World Cup in 2014 or 2018 to show the world your play making ability.

  2. Guerrero is banned for four more matches after insulting the ref when they got raped 6-0 by uruguay.

    and solano is out of the equation now, young man.

  3. nice piece ives and I am sad about peruvian soccer. I am a colombo peruano american. at least I can still look up to the reviving of colombia and the growth of U.S. but for peru? they r just dirt now. isnt guerrero suspended as well? the only bright light in the national team left is a couple of young players and solano.

  4. FIFA doesn’t want to be messed with — this just happened in Poland, too, and the Polish government backed down.

    The real story is the corruption that is FIFA. Peru is just an innocent bystander.

  5. Thanks for touching on this topic, GianFranco. And much props to Ives for assigning this piece.

    The FPF and government have until Dec. 20 to work out an accord, which I truly believe they will comply with. But this has had to put a scare in federation officials as well as the league’s top dogs. For Peru—once labeled as one of the most technically-gifted sides as recent as a decade ago when they narrowly missed out on France ’98—this has to be a wake-up call, as GianFranco mentioned.

    We’ve been able to export some top players to Europe and have even had younger players take off to ply their trade out there. But this suspension will hurt that continued process which in turn will hurt our national team from youth level to the senior level.

    Simply put, Peru can’t afford to leave out players like Schalke’s Jefferson Farfan (whose had a so-so campaign), Claudio Pizarro (notching goals left and right in Bundesliga with Werder but inexplicably not in Champ. League play), Santiago Acasiete (a top defender whose grittiness has helped establish his game in Spain with Almeria up until recently) and, hell, even Andres Mendoza, whose more famous for missing an easy sitter vs Ecuador which Peru fans won’t forgive him for. But he’s scoring at free will in Mexico with Morelia. Yet fans and the manager refuse to rely on him—another weapon we can use.

    We also boast a player of Juan Vargas’ calibre in Fiorentina but somehow he has been unable to adjust to his new team after signing from Catania last year. Carlos Zambrano is another bright prospect in Schalke and Reimond Manco just made his debut with PSV last week and has been praised by management and former players on his 10 minutes of play.

    We have the capacity to produce top-notch players but our league is in shambles and does not offer any potential players to hone their skills locally. There are periodic postponements that are unneccessary; players are sometimes not paid or have to dig into their own pockets for airfare and the like; security and police are unable to provide a secure environment (there was a recent 2nd-division match that had to be halted due to violence); there’s constant in-fighting between officials of teams or management; the press is probably one of the hackiest in the world and continuously hawks them to report the worst possible news (I understand they have a job to do but still….)

    With a league like this in existence, we’ve been unable to produce satsifactory results in Copa Libertadores games, which to me are some of the most exciting on the planet (yes, even Champs. League). But Peruvian teams lack phyiscal pedigree and confidence, usually resulting in quick exits—even for teams that have won the Peruvian league.

    Let’s face it: Peru is in true crisis. Not only do the govt. and FPF need to work out some sort of deal, but we need to clean out the dirt and start with a clean slate. Burga has stubbornly refused to take responsibility for our chaotic condition and has declined to address and acknowledge the state of our national team. He needs to go immediately.

    Because right now, as a Peruvian fan, I am in utter depression. Not even the derby this past weekend where Universitario topped Alianza Lima 2-1 in a decent match lifted my spirits up…..because the sense of our whole league and system being outcast by FIFA is overwhelming this footy fan.

  6. I am still wondering what is the story here? I keep seeing this in the news but no one tells us what this is all about.

    Is FIFA interfering with the internal workings of the Government or is the Government trying to run the Federation?


    Turns out it’s both. The government was unhappy that lower-level teams have zero say in the election system, and that might have caused Burga to loose his job so he didn’t comply.

    FIFA needs a personnel enema to flush out some of the corruption… sadly it isn’t going to happen. I can still hope Jack Warner gets brought in on federal RICO charges from his CONCACAF racket being officed in New York.

  8. When FIFA says it does not allow for government interference in its affairs, does that mean it turns down government subsidies as well? Is there a financial relationship between IPD and FPF? What is the source of their friction?

  9. Darn, I read the headline and was hoping to get an answer as to why the government doesn’t like him. The first thing I heard was that the government protested because the FPF election results didn’t match who was called the winner (read: rigged), but I’ve also heard that the government made that up to get their friend in charge.

    Knowing politics, both are true.

  10. GianFranco:

    Would Peru be in even more trouble if Burga did resign? Would that be considered tampering by FIFA? And I’m also interested in hearing why the IPD hates Burga.

    Great story. Thanks a lot.

  11. Boy, I thought it would be impossible to have a more disfunctional soccer federation than Bolivia’s, but I guess after much effort, Peru has succeeded in surpassing their eastern neighbors. It’s too bad, as Peru has produced and continues to produce some nice players and could have a half way decent team if given half a chance.

  12. Nice piece GianFranco.

    Seems like Burga should just resign if he truly cares about the sport in Peru.

    What is the government’s reservation about him? Is it that he is screwing up?



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