FIFA expelled Zimbabwe from preliminary 2018 World Cup qualifying for failing to pay its national team coach, FIFA announced Thursday.
The 2018 World Cup will take place in Russia.
FIFA's disciplinary committee said the expulsion came “as a result of the non-payment of an outstanding debt" by Zimbabwe's football federation to coach Jose Claudinei Georgini.
The federation has owed the money since 2008, and FIFA first ordered the team to pay the money in 2012.
The world's soccer governing body said that Zimbabwe failed to make the payments despite being given a 60-day period to settle half of its debt to Georgini and a 120-day period to pay off the remainder of the debt.
FIFA again presented the case to the Disciplinary Committee and warned the Zimbabwe Football Association that if they did not settle the debt, they would be subject to harsher sanctions.
“ZIFA was informed that the expulsion would be ordered automatically without any further decision needed from the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and, once more, ZIFA did not appeal the decision,” FIFA said.
The Zimbabwe national team has never qualified for a World Cup. The country bid to host the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations after Libya withdrew as host because of security concerns.
- Scooby Axson