FIFA has threatened Brazil with a suspension in the latest development in the controversy surrounding the nation’s soccer federation president.

Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF) president Ednaldo Rodrigues was removed from office by court order in early December due to issues with his election last year.

Two higher courts then upheld the decision this past week. The court’s rulings have decreed that a new CBF presidential election be held within 30 days.

However, FIFA does not look kindly upon governmental or third-party interference in soccer’s organizational affairs. The global governing body for the sport, along with CONMEBOL, do not believe the intervention is necessary and prefer such matters to be handled in-house.

They intend to conduct their own investigation in the situation, and until that takes place, insist that no elections take place.

If this decision is not respected, FIFA may hit Brazil with a suspension. They outlined the potential ramifications in a letter to the CBF.

Brazil could be suspended by FIFA and CONMEBOL if they do not resolve a leadership dispute
Brazil could be suspended by FIFA and CONMEBOL if they do not resolve a leadership dispute

Brazil could be suspended by FIFA and CONMEBOL if they do not resolve a leadership dispute

FIFA suspension for Brazil: what would it mean?

Suspensions from international play are relatively rare but not unheard of. And they can happen for a number of reasons. Presently, Russia and all of it’s clubs are banned from international play due to the nations’ invasion of Ukraine.

In this case, it would be because of outside forces interfering in the operations of a national federation.

In any case, if FIFA follows through on its threat, it could be very bad news for Brazil. It would see both the country’s national teams and clubs barred from international competition until the situation is resolved.

This would be catastrophic for a country fanatical about soccer. The fans bring a passion to match their historical reputation on the pitch.

Brazil’s men are currently in sixth place – the last qualification spot – in 2026 World Cup qualifying. The next matches, however, are not until September 2024. Copa América 2024 however, is earlier in the calendar and more at risk from any potential ban.

It would also potentially affect 2024 Copa Libertadores participants Fluminense, São Paulo, Palmeiras, Grêmio, Atlético Mineiro, Flamengo, Botafogo, and RB Bragantino. Athletico Paranaense, Internacional, Fortaleza, Cuiabá, Corinthians, and Cruzeiro are also set for international play in Copa Sudamericana.

A ruling against Brazil would scuttle their travel plans as well. These international club tournaments are set to kick off in February and March, respectively.

José Perdiz, head of Brazil’s highest sports court, has been assigned to organize the new elections. He says he’ll “call for the elections within the established deadline, with the required transparency and integrity.”

Whether FIFA would indeed suspend one of the world’s highest-profile nations remains to be seen. There will be pressure to allow them to compete in a packed international calendar for both the men’s and women’s teams.

With Copa América on the horizon, World Cup qualifiers underway, as well as a bid for the 2027 Women’s World Cup in the works, hitting Brazil with the harshest of sanctions in this case would certainly be a seismic decision.

Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire