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Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Saturday, 1 August 2009 13:13 UK

Ivory Coast game under threat

Ivory Coast Football Federation president Jacques Anouma
Jacques Anouma says the Burkina Faso game cannot be postponed

The Ivory Coast Football Federation (FIF) says that thefts at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny means the Elephants' 2010 World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso could be cancelled.

The Group E match is due to kick off at 1700GMT on 5 September in Abidjan, but the theft of electricity boxes and cables means the stadium cannot be used at night.

The FIF president, Jacques Anouma, insisted the time of the match cannot be changed but did not explain why the game could not be postponed.

If the match has to be cancelled the Ivory Coast would have to forfeit the points available.

Anouma said the thefts were, "an act of vandalism and sabotage."

The stadium was recently upgraded for the African Championship of Nations finals hosted by Ivory Coast at the beginning of 2009.

The FIF estimate it will cost US$65,0000 to repair the damage so that the stadium can be used again for night games.

The match against Burkina Faso is set to be the first at the stadium since football's world governing body Fifa sanctioned the FIF for the disaster on 29 March in which 20 supporters died in a stampede before a 2010 qualifier against Malawi.

Talking for the first time since the Fifa sanctions Anouma said he was relieved the stadium had not been suspended and that the FIF would fulfil its responsibilities in securing future matches.

FIFA have demanded that the capacity be reduced from 35,000 to 20,000 for the match and a number of other security precautions put in place.

These security procedures will be tested beforehand at the finals of the national cup in August between Asec Mimosas and Africa Sports.

Ivory Coast are currently top of the World Cup and African Nations qualifying group with three wins out of three against Malawi, Guinea and Burkina Faso.



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