ITALY are dreaming of a sensational World Cup reprieve with Peru facing the boot.
The four-time champions missed out on the sport’s biggest spectacle for the first time in 60 years when they were stunned by Sweden in the play-offs.
But, in an incredible set of circumstances, the Azzurri hope they could now be lining up in Russia next June.
South American minnows Peru beat New Zealand in their own double-header earlier this month.
The win sparked mass euphoria in the country’s capital Lima as fans celebrated a first World Cup qualification since Spain 1982.
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. The Fifa Organising Committee may in particular decide to replace the association in question with another association.
Fifa World Cup regulations
But the joy could be short-lived with government interference in the Peruvian FA meaning their heroes could never board the plane.
Congresswoman Paloma Noceda has proposed a new law that will put the country’s football association under control of the Institute of Sport
Fifa takes a hard line on state meddling in football, with Kenya also forced to disband its FA in 2006 after ignoring the governing body’s rulebook.
And national newspaper Libero reports that, if Noceda’s bill is passed, officials in Switzerland could decide to exclude Peru from all Fifa-sanctioned tournaments – leaving one place to fill at Russia 2018.
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Fifa laws state that if any nation withdraws or is excluded from the competition, the Fifa Organising Committee can “decide to replace the association in question with another association” at its “sole discretion”.
That means they are under no obligation to select a nation from the same confederation or to go by official world rankings.
And Tuttosport claims that, as the most successful side not to qualify, that golden ticket could be given to Italy.
Fellow European giants Holland could also be under consideration, along with Colombia, who finished one position below Peru in the Conmebol qualifying table.
While New Zealand, who were edged out 2-0 in their two-legged play-off, may also feel like they deserve the lucky-loser spot.
Interestingly, Fifa rules currently state that no more than 13 European nations can enter a World Cup, which may scupper Italy and Holland’s chances.
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While Noceda is adamant that she will not allow Peru to be barred from participating.
The President of the Commission for Instruction, Youth and Sport in Peru, said: “There may be concern from FIFA, but we need to do things for the good of Peruvian sport.
“No bill will prevent Peru from going to the World Cup.
“If this could affect Peru, it will be debated and removed.”