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FIFA lifts ban on Sri Lanka Football Federation

World governing body FIFA has lifted the ban on the Sri Lanka Football Federation (FFSL). The ban was imposed in January 2023 due to government interference in the federation’s affairs. In a letter dated August 28 by Fatma Samoura, the FIFA secretary General, it said that the FIFA bureau had decided on 27 August “to lift the suspension of the FFSL with immediate effect”. The FFSL has also agreed to hold fresh elections for its executive committee.

The lifting of the ban is a major boost for Sri Lankan football. It means that the country’s national team will be able to resume international competition and that the FFSL will be able to resume its development programs. The FIFA Bureau’s decision to lift the ban was welcomed by the Sri Lankan government and by the football community in the country. The government said that it was committed to supporting the development of football in Sri Lanka.

Upcoming Elections and Administrative Changes

Sri Lanka’s Sports Ministry had recently issued a Gazette stating that office bearers would be elected for a four-year term. FIFA Bureau acknowledged this move. Additionally, there will be an appointment to fill the positions of General Secretary/CEO. The elections will be conducted following the guidelines set by the FFSL general assembly.

With the ban lifted, FFSL members, clubs, and teams are now free to participate in various international football competitions. This is a positive stride for Sri Lankan football, allowing players and teams to once again compete on the global platform.

Missed Opportunity: SAFF Championship 2023

The ban had unfortunate consequences, as Sri Lanka’s football team was unable to participate in the SAFF Championship 2023 held in July. This regional tournament showcased teams from South Asia, including India, Nepal, Pakistan, and more. Due to the ban, Lebanon and Kuwait were invited to ensure a strong competition lineup.

Conclusion: A New Chapter for Sri Lankan Football

The lifting of the ban on the FFSL by FIFA marks a fresh start for football in Sri Lanka. With the opportunity to participate in international competitions and the prospect of new leadership through upcoming elections, the nation’s football community is poised for growth and success. As the country rejoins the global football family, the focus remains on nurturing talent, promoting fair play, and embracing the beautiful game.

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