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FIFA boss helps lift African Cup ban on Togo
African football authorities were set to lift a ban preventing Togo from playing in the African Nations Cup at the urging of FIFA boss Sepp Blatter. Togo controversially withdrew from this year's event in Angola after a deadly attack on its team bus.
REUTERS - Togo will have their African Nations Cup ban lifted after FIFA boss Sepp Blatter brokered an agreement with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Zurich on Friday.
Togo withdrew from this year’s tournament in Angola after two members of their delegation and the team bus driver died in an ambush in the province of Cabinda.
While the world expressed horror and sympathy, African football’s governing body slapped them with a four-year ban, saying they had not properly withdrawn from the tournament and that the players had been forced home because of the pressure of their government.
“This decision is good news for us—it gives us a real bounce,” Elitsa Lanou, technical director of the Togo team, said in a statement.
“If the sanction had been upheld, we would have been knocked flat. Now we have to organise and move on.”
Blatter was asked to broker a solution after Togo appealed to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport against the ruling keeping them out of the 2012 and 2014 events.
“This shows we can solve our internal disputes within the football family for the benefit of all those who are involved in our game and in particular for the players,” Blatter said in a FIFA statement.
Although the agreement says CAF’s president Issa Hayatou must still ask his executive committee to squash the sanction, that should be a mere formality given his position of authority.