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Reports: Antigua GFC could be ejected from CONCACAF Champions League

And that would have significant implications for the New York Red Bulls and Alianza in CCL.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple reports out of Guatemala - subsequently picked up by the BBC and Reuters - bring the news that the Guatemalan football federation, FEDEFUT, will be suspended by FIFA. Once implemented, among other sanctions, the suspension is expected to mean an end to any Guatemalan presence in international competitions until the matter is resolved.

And that would see Guatemalan clubs Antigua and Suchitepequez removed from the ongoing edition of CONCACAF Champions League. If the clubs are ejected from CCL, it would reduce Groups F and H to two teams, effectively converting those groups to a home-and-away knockout series between the two remaining participants.

In Group H, FC Dallas and Real Esteli have already played each other twice, and the MLS team had the better of those encounters (a 2-1 home win and 1-1 road draw for FCD). Dallas could advance to the quarterfinals without playing another match.

In Group F, the September 15 match between the New York Red Bulls and Alianza would potentially decide which of those teams advances to the knockout rounds of the tournament. The teams drew 1-1 in El Salvador, so a win for either side would be sufficient to advance. A 0-0 draw favors RBNY; a multi-goal score draw (2-2, 3-3 etc.) would see Alianza advance on the away goals tiebreaker. If the teams were to draw 1-1 at Red Bull Arena, the Group F quarterfinalist could be decided by the drawing of lots.

[Update: As noted by Eric Friedlander, there is an alternative. CONCACAF could decide to let existing results stand, tilting the group in RBNY's favor. That decision would give RBNY a points advantage that would eliminate any need for tiebreakers with Alianza. The Red Bulls would advance with any draw or win; Alianza would need a win to go through.

Whatever adjustment is to be made to the rules of competition in the event Antigua is ejected, CONCACAF must communicate those changes to RBNY and Alianza before they play.]

FEDEFUT's imminent suspension was revealed by FIFA's Primo Corvaro, with an official announcement from FIFA expected in the near future. The ban may be delayed until Guatemala's involvement in the ongoing FIFA Futsal World Cup is over - but that is likely to be September 17 (Guatemala's last group stage game in the tournament); October 1 at the latest. To allow the CCL group stage to finish without being impacted by the suspension to Guatemalan clubs, FIFA would have to delay its action until after the October 18-20 round of matches is completed. (And that doesn't really help matters if either or both the Guatemalan teams technically qualify for the next stage.)

FEDEFUT is expected to appeal the decision, which may buy time for CCL to complete its group stage - but if Guatemalan clubs are destined to be booted from the tournament, it seems unlikely a delayed suspension will change the fact RBNY vs Alianza will be the decisive match in determining Group F's quarterfinalist.

The precipitating issue behind FIFA's decision is the suspension of the FIFA committee currently overseeing Guatemalan football in the wake of the arrest and extradition of former FEDEFUT president Brayan Jimenez. He offered a guilty plea to racketeering and wire fraud charges in the US in July.

FIFA's committee in Guatemala was itself suspended by a Guatemalan arbitration committee, after a group of local players appealed the FIFA delegation's handling of a doping inquiry. FIFA deems the suspension of its committee to be "government interference", and the sanction for such is traditionally suspension of international football activities for the nation in question.

The situation is somewhat fluid, with official statements, appeals and consequences yet to be confirmed. And for RBNY, its primary potential impact is to turn a game it already wanted to win into one it certainly must not lose.