ATLANTA GA - FEBRUARY 09: Players for Bosnia-Herzegovina leave the field after their 2-0 loss to Mexico during an international friendly match at Georgia Dome on February 9 2011 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Bosnia-Herzegovina have been suspended from all international footballing events by UEFA and FIFA for refusing to come in line with regulations that state that a country's football federation must have one single president. Bosnia's FFBIH instead uses a rotational system in order to allow Muslims, Serbs, and Croatians an equal say in how the sport is run, a reflection of the country's deep political divides following independence from Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The FFBIH was given until the end of March to comply with FIFA's requirement to switch to a single president, but ignored the deadline and have now been stripped of membership rights in both FIFA and UEFA, who issued a joint statement on the matter:
[Bosnia-Herzegovina] loses all its membership rights with immediate effect and until further notice. [Bosnia-Herzegovina] representative and club teams are no longer entitled to take part in international competitions as of 1 April 2011 and until the aforementioned problem is solved.
This also means that, as of 1 April 2011, no [Bosnia-Herzegovina] official or representative may participate in any international match or event.
|Updated Euro 2012 Qualifying Group D|
This move has major ramifications on qualifying for the 2012 European Championships. Bosnia, who have seven points from four matches in Group D, looked in good position to secure second place in the group behind France, but the ruling from UEFA means they are no longer able to play in qualifying matches and will be removed from the group, presumably with their results expunged. If that happens France would see its lead over Albania slip to two points with four games left to play.
It's possible that FIFA intervenes directly, taking temporary control of the Bosnia football association and running it by emergency committee. There's a precedent for such action, and it would allow the side to continue with their Euro 2012 qualification campaign. However, everyone's aware that such an action would be little more than a band-aid, and if FIFA and UEFA are really going to insist that Bosnia have a single leader and they don't want to, they're not going to be able to play.