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South Africa readmitted to FIFA

ZURICH, Switzerland, -- South Africa was one of 14 nations accepted as a member of world soccer's governing body at the FIFA Congress Friday.

South Africa was unanimously returned to the fold after an 18 year absence, originally brought about by its racist apartheid policies.

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It is now eligible to compete in the African qualifying rounds for the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

South Africa celebrates the decision with a three-match series against Cameroon, beginning in Durban, South Africa, on July 7.

The other countries accepted by FIFA Friday were Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, South Africa, Croatia, Slovenia, St. Kitts and Nevis.

The three Baltic states had previously been FIFA members until 1940 when they were taken over by the Soviet Union.

Applications from other national associations were postponed. The congress left it up to the executive committee to decide at a December meeting if Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan and Turkmenistan -- all republics from the former Soviet Union -- should be granted membership.

With the addition of the 14 countries, FIFA now has 178 members.

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