FIFA & AFC has included Sri Lanka in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualification – AFC, after the Sports Minister accepted and implemented two of the given three conditions.
This was confirmed by the former Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) President Jaswar Umar.
“FIFA and AFC have approved and included Sri Lanka in the official World Cup draw on a strictly conditional basis,” Jaswar Umar said.
“The official update has been sent to the last elected President and its committee. The World Cup qualification match will be played on the 12th and 17th of October 2023. FFSL needs to conduct its election at least 10 days before this World Cup match; otherwise, FIFA will not allow Sri Lanka to play in the qualifiers,” he added.
The three conditions to be enforced by FIFA are as follows,
- Official and written exemption from the current national sports law to be legally granted to the FFSL/Sri Lankan football in order to guarantee the recognition and implementation of the newly adopted FFSL Statutes (22 September 2022)
- The FFSL administration to be fully in charge of the FFSL’s daily affairs until a new FFSL Executive Committee is elected as the elections of 14 January 2023 are not recognized by neither FIFA or the AFC.
- Elections for a new FFSL Executive Committee to be organized as per the newly adopted FFSL Statutes (22 September 2022), by secret ballot and for a four-year mandate.
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After 7-months, the Sports Minister finally agreed to condition 1 & 2 in a gazette recently under regulations made under the Section 32, Section 33 and Section 41 of the Sports Act, No. 25 of 1973. The 3rd condition will need to be fulfilled by at least 1st October. Until the elections are held the suspension still stands.
I, the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Roshan Ranasinghe, hereby appoint the following committee to carry out the administrative and other required activities of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka and to convene and conduct the relevant elections, in accordance with the powers vested in me under the Sections 32, 33 and 41 of the Sports Act, No. 25 of 1973 and as its amendments, with effect from 24th July 2023.
(1) Mr. A. G. C. Deshapriya – Chairman
(2) Mrs. N. K. Kapurubandara – Secretary
(3) Mr. K. A. R. C. Kahandawala – Treasurer
Further, in terms of the powers vested in me under Sections 32, 33, and 41 of the Sports Act No. 25 of 1973 and as its amendments, I hereby direct that the following will be applicable to the Football Federation of Sri Lanka under the National Associations of Sports Regulations, No. 2 of 1974 and its amendments.
- The Officer bearers will be elected for a four-year term.
- The Post of General Secretary/CEO will be filled by appointment.
- A new executive committee will be elected in terms of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka constitution adopted on 22nd September 2022
With Sri Lanka ranked 207th in the world they will have to play in the 1st round of 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC, which will consist of two legs. Sri Lanka will meet either Hong Kong, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei, Maldives, Yemen, Afghanistan, Singapore, Myanmar, Nepal or Cambodia.