Uefa has told Spain they could be thrown out of Euro 2008 if the Spanish government tries to interfere in the election process of the country’s FA.
Spain topped their qualifying group for the European Championship ahead of Sweden, with Northern Ireland finishing in third place.
“Uefa and Fifa deal with these sort of issues very seriously. These are no empty threats – we will back them up,” said Uefa spokesman William Gaillard.
“It is similar to 1992 when Yugoslavia was suspended and Denmark, who finished second in the group, came in,” added Gaillard.
Denmark went on to win the tournament in Sweden after beating Germany 2-0 in the final.
Last week, Fifa president Sepp Blatter said he was unhappy with a rule forcing Spain’s non-Olympic sporting federations to hold elections before this summer’s Olympic Games.
“Spain would not be able to play at Euro 2008 and their clubs wouldn’t continue in Europe,” he said.
“A confrontation like this is no good for football or for the government.
“If the Spanish government, through their Sports Council, continue to interfere in footballing affairs they will have to recognise that their clubs and national team will be excluded from international tournaments.
“It would be tough, but it would only take six hours to call a Fifa emergency committee meeting to hear and decide upon Spain’s exclusion.
Spain and second-placed Sweden qualified for this summer’s finals in Austria and Switzerland from Group F, but it is third-placed Northern Ireland who would be the likely beneficiaries of Spain’s expulsion.
“We have heard nothing about this,” admitted Irish FA president Raymond Kennedy.
“There has been no communication and it is obviously an internal matter.”