MONTEVIDEO (AFP) - Uruguay will play at the World Cup despite its crisis-hit national football federation having been kicked out of the South American confederation (Conmebol), FIFA president Sepp Blatter insisted on Thursday.
The entire board of the Uruguayan football federation (UAF) resigned en masse on Monday following the decision by the country's president Jose Mujica to withdraw police cover from matches in the face of escalating stadium violence.
"Do you think Uruguay will be sanctioned? No, Uruguay is going to play in the World Cup and will remain in their group," said Blatter.
Uruguay, semi-finalists at the 2010 World Cup, are in Group D at this year's tournament in Brazil where they will meet Italy, England and Costa Rica.
Mujica ordered police to withdraw their presence from the Centenario stadium and the Parque Central, where the country's two biggest clubs, Penarol and Nacional, play their home games in Montevideo.
The moved came after incidents marred Nacional's meeting with Argentine side Newell's Old Boys in the Copa Libertadores, South America's leading club competition.
On Sunday, the game between Penarol and Miramar Misiones was called off at the players' request amid security concerns at the legendary Centenario stadium.
Mujica's decision came after 40 people were arrested and dozens of police and fans were injured, while more than 700 seats were ripped out, at the Nacional-Newell's encounter.
The AUF had insisted that domestic games would still go ahead only for the Penarol-Miramar clash to be postponed at the last minute.