Cape Verde have lost their appeal against being kicked out of the playoffs of the African World Cup qualifiers for fielding an ineligible player, FIFA said on Tuesday.
Cape Verde, who beat Tunisia 2-0 to finish top of African Group B, forfeited the match after FIFA ruled that defender Fernando Varela should not have played.
Tunisia, due to face Cameroon over two legs in October, were awarded a 3-0 win which put them top of the group and into the playoff round in Cape Verde's place.
It was one of eight ineligible player decisions taken against various nations during the African World Cup qualifying campaign.
FIFA said it rejected the appeal at a hearing on Sept 23 and informed the Cape Verde Federation (FCF) on Tuesday, though it did not explain the reason for the eight-day delay.
Varela was banned for four matches after being sent off in an earlier Group B game against Equatorial Guinea, which Cape Verde lost 4-3.
That result itself was overturned, and the game awarded to Cape Verde 3-0, after FIFA ruled that Equatorial Guinea's Emilio Nsue, who scored a hat-trick, was not eligible to play.
Cape Verde can still take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). They had argued that Varela's red card and ban should not have counted as the match had been declared void.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Tony Goodson; Reporting by Brian Homewood)