Cameroon's six-point penalty for wearing one-piece uniforms during the African Cup of Nations was lifted by soccer's governing body yesterday.

The penalty would have presented Cameroon with a serious obstacle in its attempt to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter called the move "an act of grace." His proposal was unanimously approved by FIFA's congress.

"This is an exceptional situation," Blatter said. "We have done something incredible."

Prince Ndoki Mukete, deputy secretary general of the nation's soccer federation, told the Associated Press from Cameroon that he "received the news from Paris with total joy." He called the penalty "exaggerated injustice."

Cameroon wore its flamboyant one-piece uniform during the African Cup in February. The outfit featured lion claw marks down both sides of a jersey that was attached to shorts.

This month, FIFA rejected Cameroon's appeal against the April 16 ruling, in which Cameroon also was fined $155,000, a penalty that stands. Blatter was outspoken in opposing the uniforms. A few days earlier, however, he had said female soccer players should consider wearing more revealing uniforms.

In other business, Blatter signed a declaration supporting the World Anti-Doping Code, a move that should ensure soccer's status as an Olympic sport.

-- From News Services