Vanguard (Lagos)

5 July 2014

Nigeria: FIFA Threatens to Ban Nigeria

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama of Nigeria challenged by Laurent Koscielny of France in the goal mouth during their encounter.

Barely 24 hours after the Sports Minister, Tamuno Danagogo moved to effect the court order by a Plateau Justice restraining the board of the Nigeria Football Federation from running the affairs of Nigerian football, the President of the NFF, Aminu Maigari was yesterday arrested by men of the Nigerian Police upon arriving the country from Brazil, venue of the World Cup.

He was detained for hours at the Security Service Headquarters in Abuja. He was picked up at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja. He was later released at about 5pm.

We gathered that he was asked questions on the funding of Nigeria's World Cup campaign and what the federation earned as donation or sponsorship.

Before now, the government, it was learnt, had ordered all the 36 chairmen of the State Football Associations to report to Abuja yesterday, where they were scheduled to convene an Extra-Ordinary Congress.

But that move by government to make the state FA chairmen convene a congress, is also a direct contravention of the court order handed out by Justice P.L. Lot, who declared in the ruling that "the Interim Injunction is granted restraining the 2nd Defendant, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, and all other purported members of the Executive Committee and Congress of the 1st Defendant (NFF) from further Controlling, Commanding or Managing the Affairs of the 1st defendant and all Football matters in Nigeria pending the hearing, and determination of the Motion on Notice", which has been fixed for July 11, 2014.

The meeting of the State FA Chairman holds today at Bolingo Hotel.

Following all these moves and counter-moves, world's governing body, FIFA yesterday reacted to events in Nigeria, warning of the consequences of interfering in the affairs of the NFF.. FIFA warned that it would not recognise the appointment of the Sports Minister and any Congress convened by the government.

In the letter signed by the Secretary -General Jerome Valcke, it warned of impending dire effects a suspension could have on Nigerian football.

"It would for instance mean that no team from Nigeria of any sort(including clubs)could have any international sporting contact(article 14 par 3 of the FIFA Statutes). It also means that neither the NFF nor any of its members or officials could benefit from any development programme, course or training from FIFA or CAF any longer",.

FIFA added that punitive actions would be taken on Nigeria if the board of Aminu Maigari was not reinstated before July 8, 2014.

Saturday Sports Vanguard is in possession of the FIFA's letter, which was addressed to the President of the NFF, Aminu Maigari. The letter is reproduced on this page.

At the root of the simmering problem is the protest of the Super Eagles before their second round match against France, which they lost 2-0. The Ministry is unhappy with the NFF over its handling of the issue which bothered on FIFA appearance fee, which normally gets paid to the federation some four months after the end of the World Cup.

Eagles wanted their share of the fee, which NFF said it was yet to receive, forcing the players to go on strike and embarrass the country in Brazil. Government quickly released the money from its coffers, said to be over $3.5m, which Danagogo took to Brazil to give the players. Government thought the money was going to spur the players to beat France but that dream did not come into reality as Eagles lacked zest in their 2-0 defeat and subsequent ouster from the tournament.

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