Football: Cameroon suspended shortly after World Cup boost

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (REUTERS) - Cameroon were suspended from international football on Thursday, just 15 minutes after they had been boosted by the news that they were being awarded three World Cup qualifying points for an unrelated matter.

The provisional ban imposed by Fifa due to government interference in the country's football federation came soon after Cameroon learnt they would go top of their qualifying group, as Togo had fielded an ineligible player against them.

"The Fifa statutes oblige member associations to manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties," world football's governing body said in a statement.

Fifa said a committee would be set up to revise Fecafoot's statutes and organise elections and that the ban would be lifted once the authorities "allow the new normalisation committee to enter the Fecafoot headquarters and to carry out its activities unhindered".

If that does not happen by Sept 6, then Cameroon will not be able to play their final World Cup qualifier against Libya and could be expelled from the qualification process for next year's tournament in Brazil.

Fifa added that Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou, who is on the emergency committee which imposed the suspension, did not take part in the vote.

Cameroon are one of Africa's most successful teams, having taken part at six World Cup tournaments and won the African Nations Cup four times.

Their bid to reach a seventh World Cup had just been helped with the announcement that last month's 2-0 defeat by Togo had been turned into a 3-0 win as their opponents fielded Jacques Alexys Romao, who was suspended for accumulated yellow cards.

The points took them top of African Group I, one point ahead of Libya.

The Indomitable Lions memorably became the first African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals in 1990 but they have been plagued by political wrangling off the field and government interference in team matters.

After a steady decline, they missed out on the 2012 and 2013 Nations Cup tournaments, losing out to tiny Cape Verde in a two-leg play-off on the latter occasion.