Football

Spain risk being exiled from the World Cup.

FIFA have threatened to expel Spain from the 2018 World Cup

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The 2018 is officially just six months away.

Its opening match of Russia vs Saudi Arabia isn't quite capturing the imagination of football fans around the globe, but there's nothing quite like the battle for the Jules Rimet.

Admittedly, the tournament is going to look a little different this time around.

Four-time winners Italy have not qualified, which is particularly agonising as it would have been the last opportunity to see Gianluigi Buffon on the biggest stage of them all.

Likewise, the Netherlands' recent demise meant they couldn't escape Group A.

Alexis Sanchez, Gareth Bale, and Arjen Robben will all have to make do with watching at home, so there will be a very odd feel to the whole thing.

FIFA surely can't afford to risk making the competition any less glamorous, but there are reports that Spain are now being threatened with expulsion.

According to reports from El Pais and the Independent, the Spanish football federation (RFEF) have been warned that its upcoming election for a new president must not have any more interference from the government.

Troubling times 

RFEF currently only have an interim leader, and the government's National Sports Council have contacted them about who they choose to replace Angel Maria Villar.

Of course, that is a violation of FIFA rules. Governments are not allow to involve themselves in matters concerning the football federations, as it is counted as "political interference".

Spain v Italy - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

If they are sufficiently concerned, the game's world governing body would be allowed to suspend Spain's membership, just as they did with Pakistan earlier this year.

The timing of this is very unfortunate, as La Roja would otherwise be among the favourites to triumph in Russia, just as they did in 2010.

From a fan's point of view, a World Cup without them would be a disaster - no David de Gea, no Sergio Ramos, no Andres Iniesta.

Attention would immediately turn to who would replace them if the worst should happen. Italy would be well-placed as they are one of the higher-seeding nations not to have qualified, but at this stage, FIFA actually carrying out their threat is pretty unthinkable.

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David de Gea
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