Football: Zimbabwe thrown out of 2018 World Cup qualifiers over unpaid debt

PARIS (AFP) - Zimbabwe have been thrown out of the African qualifying competition for the 2018 World Cup in Russia over an outstanding debt, football's governing body Fifa announced on Thursday.

The Zimbabwe federation (Zifa) owe an "exceptional debt" to Brazilian former national coach Valinhos and were ordered by Fifa in 2012 to pay the money owed since 2008.

Disciplinary proceedings against Zifa were opened and the deadline for paying the debt had now expired, Fifa explained.

"Given Zifa's failure to make any payment within the granted periods and the request presented by the creditor, the Fifa Disciplinary Committee... ordered the expulsion of Zifa from the preliminary competition of the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia," a statement on the Fifa website announced.