South Africa May Still Qualify for 2014 Soccer World Cup

South Africa still has a chance of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil next year after Ethiopia admitted to fielding an ineligible player.

Ethiopia, which leads Group A in the Africa qualification zone, will be deducted 3 points and fined 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,500) after the error in a 2-1 win against Botswana on June 8, said Sahilu Gebremariam, the head of the country’s football federation.

“There is no way to appeal to FIFA” world soccer’s governing body, he said in a phone interview from the capital, Addis Ababa, today. “We accept the allegation.”

The situation means South Africa can make it to the finals even after losing 2-1 to Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on June 16. They will be two points behind the East Africans going into the final game of the initial African qualifying phase.

Ethiopian administrators failed to communicate to the team management an instruction from FIFA that Minyahil Teshome Beyene was suspended for receiving two yellow cards in previous matches, Sahilu said.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa at wdavison3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net

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