- Senegalese Football Federation has lodged a complaint with FIFA over fair play rules
- Senegal failed to reach the last 16 because they picked up more yellow cards than Japan who progressed at their expense
- No African team made it to the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup
The Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) has called on the world's football governing body, FIFA, to review its fair play ruling which saw the West African nation crash out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Senegal exited the global football tournament on Thursday, June 28, after losing 1-0 to Colombia in their last Group H match.
A draw or a win for the Lions of Teranga over Colombia would have seen them storm the round of 16 of the world cup.
However, the slim loss saw them suffer a devastating exit, having finished third in the final table, below Japan.
Both Japan and Senegal had same number of points, identical goal difference and goals scored tallies, a scenario that compelled FIFA to invoke fair play rule.
The rule saw Japan progress to the next stage, having collected just four bookings through their group stage matches compared to Senegal's staggering seven.
Cognizant of the circumstances, the Blue Samurai played cautiously their last group match against Poland even as they trailed them by 1-0.
The move prompted FSF to make an appeal to FIFA, urging the body to penalise teams that play in the approach Japan did.
"The Senegalese Football Federation deplores the lack of fair play this Japanese team has shown. It challenges FIFA on the notion of ranking the number of cards which loses its meaning and interest when the team lacking fair play is not worried by any penalty," a letter by FSF sent to FIFA says in part.
"The Federation believes that Japan literally refused to play when it learned that Colombia had just scored a goal against Senegal, a refusal to play that suited Japan but which is contrary to the principles governing football," the letter continues.
FIFA’s chief tournament and event officer Colin Smith has since reacted to the fair play rule, hinting at a possible review in the future.
The federation is using the rule for the first time since the inception of the world cup.
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