FIFA made its decision Lift non-payment sanction for Equatorial Guineaself-imposed, allowing the men’s team to enter the draw for the group stage. African Football Confederation For the 2026 World Cup (CAF), which will be held this Friday in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), El Periódico de España of the Prensa Ibérica group has learned.

Equatorial Guinea was penalized with this sanction in February 2022 after the federation of countries (FEGUIFUT) confirmed that it had not made payments for five years. debt totaling more than two million euros Contract with Spanish teachers Esteban Becker and José Antonio Pozanco. After several payment orders from TAS and FIFA that were never fulfilled, the highest football establishment has enforced this sanction and now the two technicians are removing it without yet seeing a single euro.

An alleged non-existing deal

FIFA’s rationale for making this decision the day before the draw is based on a letter sent by the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Equatorial Guinea. Pedro Nguemaguaranteed that FEGUIFUT and the two Spanish coaches had reached an agreement. “settlement agreement” for payment of debt. It’s a non-existent deal, as a representative of Becker and Pozanco explained to this newspaper.

FIFA not only verified the veracity of this alleged deal with them, but deemed the Equatorial Guinea version to be good, without detailing the payment times or forms. It simply gathers the country’s government undertakes the first payment of one million dollars (without saying how and when it will be done) and that “the remaining debt will be paid through FEGUIFUT funds at FIFA”.

Despite the uncertainty about default future payments and non-confirmation of agreement with those affected, FIFA announced this Thursday at FEGUIFUT’s “provided credible evidence that sums owed to Becker and Pozanco will be paid”decided to “temporarily lift” the sanction banning the men’s team from participating in the 2026 World Cup.

Becker and Pozanco have officially applied to FIFA. that you do not agree with this decisionGiven that FEGUIFUT has not yet collected the money owed for six years. According to the information obtained by this newspaper, they have not received a response so far.

six years of struggle

FEGUIFUT’s debt to Becker and Pozanco was revealed when there was a change of leadership in the US Government in 2017. theodoro obiang and in the federation itself, and both were abruptly dismissed with about two years left on an existing contract.

Two Spanish coaches forced FEGUIFUT to pay off the debt, demanding payment from FIFA, which acknowledged their claims. HE Sports Arbitration Court The African federation’s application (TAS) approves the payment obligation formulated by FIFA.

Just 10 days ago the new president of FEGUIFUT, Venancio Tomás Ndong had publicly promised to resign from his post. Had Equatorial Guinea not been in the World Cup qualifying draw, he would have pressured his government to take on the debt.

Their repeated mismatches led to the institution headed by Gianni Infantino expelling them from the World Cup in February 2023. The sanction they lifted without now Not a single euro reached Becker and Pozanco’s pockets.