Cape Verde was stripped of a victory in the final round of African qualifying for the 2014 World Cup for using an ineligible player, allowing Tunisia to be reinstated to the competition.
Soccer’s world governing body FIFA said in a statement that Fernando Varela played in Cape Verde’s 3-0 win over Tunisia on Sept. 7. The victory allowed Cape Verde to win its group by one point over Tunisia, sending it to the final qualifying round.
FIFA said its ruling came after Varela played instead of fully serving a four-match suspension imposed for a red card he received in a qualifier in March.
“The match has been declared to be forfeited and awarded 3-0 in favor of Tunisia, meaning that the Cape Verde Islands will not progress to round three of the FIFA World Cup African zone qualifiers having dropped to second place in Group B with nine points while Tunisia finish first with 14 points and will now advance,” FIFA said in the statement.
The Cape Verdean Football Association was also fined 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,463) for allowing Varela to play before he served his full suspension. Varela had been banned for unsporting conduct toward a match official in a game against Equatorial Guinea on March 24.
Tunisia now goes into the Sept. 16 draw, along with the other nine group winners, for the final round of African qualifying. The five winners of the two-game series advance to next year’s World Cup in Brazil.