Monday, July 5, 2010

FIFA rules on suspending Nigeria today

World football governing body, FIFA has warned the Federation government that if it fails to withdraw its recent decision regarding a self-imposed ban on the country's teams, it will not only ban the country but also extend the tenure of the present executives of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) led by President Sani Lulu.

The Lulu-led NFF board is seeking a new term in office next month and FIFA said they would be compelled by the present situation to extend their tenure, which runs out on August 28.

"As long as this decision is not withdrawn, FIFA will deal exclusively with the legitimate executive committee of the NFF, even it that means that its term must be extended over the 28 August, 2010, date originally fixed for the next elections," informed FIFA in a letter dated July 2 and signed by FIFA secretary-general, Jerome Valcke.

The world football ruling body said they haves established a case against the government for "a clear and blatant interference" in the way football is run in Nigeria. They said this violates Article 13 paragraph 1g and Article 17 of the FIFA statutes.

They equally directed that elections to the NFF board slated for August 21 in Lagos proceed accordingly and be guided by the NFF statutes.

Government officials have argued that the tenure of the NFF has expired and as such they have asked FIFA to allow them set up a caretaker management committee to run football in the country until elections are conducted into the board of the Nigeria FA.

Former internationals Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha and Samson Siasia have been named by government in this management committee, which will be inaugurated today.

However, FIFA have turned down this request, warning that it will not recognise the committee.

FIFA warned that if this directive by the government is not withdrawn by 6pm South African time (5pm Nigerian time) today, July 5, their emergency committee will meet and suspend Nigeria from international football with immediate effect.

Valcke stated very clearly that dire consequences await football in Nigeria should government fail to back down.

"We would like to underline the dire effects a suspension could have on the future of Nigerian football. It would mean that no Nigerian team of any sorts (including clubs) could have any international contacts," declared FIFA.

"We consider that this governmental decision would only completely isolate Nigerian football and could thus stall reforms and further development and improvement of Nigerian football for a long time.

"It puts the whole future of Nigerian football in danger."

Already FIFA have informed Nigeria that arrangements have begun for another country to replace the country at the Under-20 World Cup, which kicks off in July 13 in Germany.

This will be the case should the government fail to reverse its decision.

Daily Champion

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