It’s reported the Spanish national team, who finished above Italy in qualifying, could be excluded from the World Cup for government interference.
In July of this year Ángel María Villar, the head of the Spanish federation, resigned from his posts at FIFA and UEFA having been arrested on suspicion of embezzling funds.
Spain’s Higher Council of Sport [CSD] proposed repeating the elections which returned Villar, in order to find a new President, and then had an appeal admitted by the Administrative Court of Sport [TAD].
The TAD then sent a favourable resolution to the Council of State which is to decide whether or not there will ultimately be new elections.
According to El Pais, FIFA has viewed this as government interference in football and has sent a warning letter to the Spanish Federation, and Spain could even be excluded from the World Cup.
El Pais notes that Italy will be alert to the situation, having finished behind Spain in qualifying.
FIFA’s laws state “if any association withdraws or is excluded from the competition, the FIFA Organising Committee shall decide on the matter at its sole discretion and take whatever action is deemed necessary”.
It is therefore theoretically possible that Italy could replace La Roja in the World Cup if the Spanish government is deemed to have interfered with the Federation.
However, any such decision is highly unlikely, almost to the point of impossibility.
The only likely reason for a nation being excluded is civil war or other conflicts which could affect the nation in question.
Yugoslavia were excluded from the 1992 European Championships when the country descended into civil war, and were replaced by Denmark.
The Danes had finished behind Yugoslavia in qualifying, and went on to win the tournament in one of the biggest upsets in modern football history.