Johannesburg: Ethiopia have been stripped of three points in World Cup qualifying for fielding an ineligible player in a game against Botswana, handing South Africa a lifeline for next year's tournament in Brazil.
FIFA said Ethiopia has forfeited its 2-1 win in Botswana on June 8 because Minyahile Beyene played in that game when he should have been suspended for receiving two yellow cards in earlier qualifiers. FIFA had awarded the match to Botswana 3-0.
The sanction means Ethiopia is now only two points ahead of South Africa and three ahead of Botswana and not guaranteed a place in Africa's final playoffs for the World Cup ahead of the final round of Group A games in September.
FIFA's disciplinary committee also fined Ethiopia's federation 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,348).