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Peru federation 'calm' over potential risk of World Cup expulsion

Peru Football Federation (FPF) president Edwin Oviedo has said there is no danger of the national team losing their World Cup spot.

Oviedo's reassurance comes after newspaper Libero reported that Peru's place could be in jeopardy following a bill presented by congresswoman Paloma Noceda that would see the FPF lose its autonomy.

Libero said Noceda's proposal would see the Institute of Sport control the federation, but any government intervention could see Peru excluded by FIFA.

Peru reached their first World Cup for 36 years by beating New Zealand 2-0 on aggregate in a play-off earlier this month.

And Oviedo told Peruvian radio station RPP that they would be playing in Russia.

He said: "Congress listened to our suggestions in order not to take this risk.

"We at the FPF are calm. It's impossible that we risk Peru's participation. Our national team will be in Russia 2018."

Noceda, the president of Peru's Education, Youth and Sport Commission, also sought to dispel fears that the bill would put Peru in danger.

She said it only states that the Peruvian Institute of Sport, affiliated to the Ministry of Education, can oversee the federation as the current law stipulates but cannot control it.

Speaking to the EFE news agency, she said: "It would not endanger, in any way, the World Cup participation.

"We are happy to have qualified for the World Cup. It's been three decades that we have waited for this.

"Everyone celebrated because of it and my bill has nothing to do with football. It's only directed at matters regarding sport centres."

However, if Peru were to be excluded, it would open up the door for another nation to take their place, with FIFA rules saying the governing body's "organising committee can, in particular, decide to replace the association in question with another association."

The highest-ranked side to have missed out on the World Cup are 10th-placed Chile, who finished sixth in their South American qualifying round behind Peru on goal difference.

Italy, who failed to reach a World Cup for the first time since 1958 after losing a playoff to Sweden, are ranked 14th.

Under FIFA regulations only 13 European teams can play at a World Cup and that quota is already filled.

In the 1992 European Championship, Denmark -- who went on to win the event -- qualified only after Yugoslavia, who had finished top of them in their group, were disqualified.

That could mean New Zealand, as Peru's beaten playoff opponents, stepping up to take their place in the event of expulsion.

Meanwhile, Oviedo said the federation was working on extending the contract of national coach Ricardo Gareca, a reported target for several other federations.

Gareca, who has been in charge since February 2015, is out of contract after the World Cup.

"The aim of the FPF is to offer him a contract extension for the next [2022 World Cup] qualifiers," Oviedo said.

"It will happen before the World Cup, that is our desire, but it will depend on what he wants."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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