LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Cape Verde is challenging FIFA at sport's highest court to replace Tunisia in the World Cup playoffs, even though the first-leg match was already played.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Tuesday the Cape Verdean Football Association has appealed against FIFA's ruling to award Tunisia a 3-0 victory by default in a decisive group match in September. Cape Verde won 2-0 but selected an ineligible player.
Tunisia advanced instead and drew 0-0 at home with Cameroon on Oct. 13 in the first leg of a playoff to decide which team advances to the World Cup in Brazil. CAS said the appeal requests FIFA to nullify that result, cancel the second leg on Nov. 17 in Yaounde, and reinstate Cape Verde to play Cameroon.
The court said FIFA refused to agree to fast-track the process. "A regular CAS arbitration has been initiated and no procedural calendar has been fixed yet," the court said in a statement. Cape Verde was the potential feel-good story of African qualifying, as the tiny islands appeared to have won its group.
However, Tunisia formally complained to FIFA that defender Fernando Varela had not completed a four-match ban for being sent off in a qualifier against Equatorial Guinea in March. That match was also forfeited, by Equatorial Guinea, over an ineligible player but FIFA rules required that red and yellow cards stay on the record.
Cape Verde was stripped of the win and its playoff place, and fined 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,700) by FIFA. FIFA's appeals committee upheld the ruling this month.