FIFA sends emergency panel to run Bosnian football
FIFA appointed an emergency team of officials on Tuesday to run Bosnia-Herzegovina's football federation and offered a route to lifting its ban from international matches.
''A six-person normalization committee with football personalities from Bosnia-Herzegovina has been established and put in place with immediate effect,'' FIFA said in a statement.
The panel includes Ivica Osim, who coached Yugoslavia to the quarterfinals at the 1990 World Cup - the last tournament the country played in before breaking up.
The peace offer begins a process that could see Bosnia resume its 2012 European Championship program, with qualifiers scheduled for June 3 in Romania and June 7 against Albania.
Bosnia was suspended this month because football officials refused requests from FIFA and European authority UEFA to elect a single president.
Like Bosnian politics, its football leadership has been ethnically split between a Bosniak, a Croat and a Serb since a war in the former Yugoslav republic ended in 1995.
However, FIFA gave Bosnia a list of demands it must meet to rejoin world football.
All ties with the former football federation leadership must be cut ''with regard to the decision-making in financial, administrative, sporting and other matters,'' FIFA insisted.
FIFA set the panel a May 26 deadline to hold a general assembly and adopt approved statutes that were rejected at a March 29 meeting in Sarajevo which provoked the current crisis.
A new president and executive committee would then have to be elected by Nov. 30.
FIFA ordered the panel to ''take all necessary steps to further improve the financial situation'' of the federation, pay all its debts and act ''in full transparency.''
Bosnian football also must ''improve the quality within the (federation) administration and foster the credibility and image ... at national level, implementing any measures necessary as discussed with FIFA and UEFA.''
The emergency panel's mandate will end when a new ruling executive body is properly elected, FIFA said.
After 15 years of accepting Bosnia's difficult political and ethnic divisions, FIFA and UEFA warned football officials last year that they must modernize their rules.
Bosnian Serbs have opposed the single-presidency idea because they fear losing their autonomy.
Many Bosniak officials and fans argued that a suspension punished them, who backed FIFA's and UEFA's rules, and rewarded those who support the national team of neighboring Serbia.
''As if they have put an innocent man in jail,'' Bosnia coach Safet Susic said about the ban, which affects the national team, clubs, officials and referees.
Bosnia has never appeared at a major tournament as an independent team but has made a promising start in qualifying for Euro 2012.