20 August 2018

Nigeria May Avert FIFA Ban As Govt Intensifies Discussions With Body

Photo: Daily Trust
The Nigeria Football Federation.

Nigeria may have averted a threat to its membership of world football community, following Federal Government's move to adhere to rules governing the game.

World football ruling body, FIFA, had threatened to ban Nigeria from international football if government continued its interference in the game's administration as noticed in recent actions of Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung.

But The Guardian learnt yesterday that government has been able to prove that it was working to correct the 'false impressions' created by recent events in the country's game, especially the leadership tussle between Jos-based Chris Giwa and the NFF board headed by Amaju Pinnick.

The NFF has been embroiled in a leadership tussle, which has seen Chris Giwa, backed by Sports Minister, Dalung, using force to occupy the Federation's secretariat on many occasions.

On Friday in Jos, a Federal High Court hearing the suit between Giwa and the NFF failed to vacate the ex-parte granted Giwa on June 5, which gave him the impetus to declare himself as NFF president. The trial judge adjourned the case indefinitely.

However, The Guardian learnt that Federal Government has been able to convince FIFA that it has no intention of breaching the protocol it agreed to before joining the body.

"The Federal Government has accepted to work with FIFA to restore peace in Nigerian football. So, FIFA will not ban the country as it threatened.

"We expect a positive pronouncement from FIFA at the end of the deadline given to us, because we have assured them of our readiness to play by the rules," the source, who pleaded anonymity, said.

The source also revealed that top government officials were working to ensure permanent peace in Nigerian sports, adding that events of recent months have thoroughly embarrassed the Federal Government.

Meanwhile, a top official has revealed that the leagues would soon resume for the concluding part of the 2017/2018.

The resumption of the leagues, including, the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), Nigeria National League (NNL) and the Nationwide League, as well as the women league, were suspended indefinitely following the crisis that has threatened the foundation of Nigerian football.

A source close to the League Management Company (LMC) told The Guardian yesterday that the body was waiting on the NFF to give the go-ahead before announcing resumption date for the competition.

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