World Cup

FIFA bans Cape Verde from World Cup

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ZURICH (AP)

AT CLOSE RANGE

With the World Cup one year away, Brazil's final sprint starts now.

Cape Verde was thrown out of the final round of African qualifying for next year's World Cup when FIFA ruled Thursday the island nation used an ineligible player during last weekend's win over Tunisia.

FIFA's disciplinary committee said defender Fernando Varela should not have played in Saturday's 2-0 win because he had not completed a four-game suspension for a red card assessed in March.

Tunisia (4-0-2) was awarded a 3-0 forfeit victory and won Group B, while Cape Verde (3-3) dropped to second. Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul quit and criticized his players following last weekend's loss.

Cape Verde, with a population of about 500,000, was looking to reach the World Cup for the first time. Its soccer federation was fined 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,447) by FIFA.

Burkino Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Sudan and Togo also have forfeited games because of ineligible players during qualifying for the 2014 tournament.

Algeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Tunisia are seeded for Monday's draw, which will determine five pairings for Africa's final round. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia and Senegal are unseeded.

The five winners of the home-and-home series will qualify for next year's tournament in Brazil.

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