Bosnia-Herzegovina was suspended from international soccer by FIFA and UEFA on Friday after the country's football federation failed to reform its three-member presidency in line with international rules.
The federation's suspension took immediate effect
The world and European football governing bodies took the extraordinary step Friday of suspending Bosnia-Herzegovina from international football.
FIFA and UEFA sanctioned the Balkan state's football association, the FFBH, after it failed to replace its tripartite Croat, Muslim Bosniak and Serb presidency with a single figurehead.
The two bodies had given the FFBH until March 31 to adhere to regulations stipulating a single presidency, but the association's general assembly held in Sarajevo on March 29 was unable to find agreement on the necessary amendment.
"This decision was necessary as the general assembly of the FFBH did not adopt the statutes according to FIFA and UEFA requirements," a joint statement from both organizations said.
"FIFA and UEFA deeply regret that this decision had to be taken and will meet shortly to discuss the next steps required to try to bring the FFBH back into the football family as soon as possible," the statement said.
As a result of the suspension, Bosnia-Herzegovina's national teams will no longer be able to compete in international competition, threatening the country's qualification for the Euro 2012 championships to be hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
Edin Dzeko is perhaps Bosnia-Herzegovina's biggest football star
Club teams from the Balkan state will also be disqualified from playing internationally, for example in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League.
Plea for understanding
Bakir Izetbegovic, the Muslim Bosniak member of Bosnia-Herzegovina's tripartite presidency, called on the heads of FIFA and UEFA - Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, respectively - to understand the complexity of the country's political reality.
"Without wishing to interfere ... in your activities, I voice my sincere conviction that you will find an adequate solution to establish in Bosnia a football organization of the best quality to allow Bosnia's national team and our clubs to continue taking part in European competition," he wrote to the pair.
"You certainly know that Bosnia-Herzegovina is a complex country ... It would be unfortunate that irresponsible behavior of members of our [football] federation prevents our international and local football players from taking part in international matches.
"Hundreds of thousands of their fans do not deserve that."
Author: Darren Mara (Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler