Tuesday, July 6, 2010

President Goodluck Jonathan reverses Super Eagles suspension

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday rescinded an earlier decision withdrawing Nigeria from all international football competitions, apparently caving in to threats of sanctions from world football governing body FIFA.

The lift of the withdrawal, announced an hour before the FIFA deadline of 5pm yesterday was to elapse, was taken at a closed-door meeting between the president and the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) at the State House in Abuja.

In announcing the earlier ban on Wednesday, Jonathan said it was to enable the country reorganise its football administration and audit the finances of the World Cup project following the poor performance of the Super Eagles at the ongoing World Cup in South Africa.

FIFA, however, told Nigeria to reverse the decision or risk suspension from the football community, an action that would have led to withdrawal of financial help, suspension of Nigerian referees from officiating in international matches and other punitive measures.

A statement by presidential spokesman Ima Niboro yesterday said the government rescinded the withdrawal from international football based on assurances given by the NFF that it would evolve an enduring football development programme for the country.

"NFF at a meeting with President Jonathan (yesterday) tendered unreserved apology to the president and the Nigerian people on the dismal performance of the country's football team, the Super Eagles, at the World Cup appearance," Niboro said.

"They also informed the president of their decision to disband the team and address the numerous shortcomings evident in the management of football in Nigeria.

"They assured the president of their commitment to evolving an enduring football development programme and grow a new senior national team that will bring glory rather than consistent embarrassment to Nigeria on the world stage.

"They informed the president that as a first step, they have proceeded to put their own house in order by removing the former leadership of the NFF and replacing it with an interim leadership.

"Based on these assurances and the appeals of well-meaning Nigerians, including former leaders, President Jonathan has decided to review the earlier two-year ban on the country from all international football competitions."

The review of the earlier decision would enable other categories of Nigerian players to participate in global football competitions, while a new senior national team was being developed, the statement said.

It said the president had directed the sports minister to call a meeting of all relevant stakeholders to resuscitate football academicals and other talent spotting outlets to produce a new crop of footballers and other sportsmen for the country, so "that this kind of rather embarrassing outcome we had from South Africa will not repeat itself."

Following the initial presidential order, FIFA threatened to sanction Nigeria over government interference in football administration, saying its rules prohibit political interference in football administration.

"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," FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke said.

The NFF on Sunday fired its president Sani Lulu Abdullahi and two other executives over the Super Eagles poor outing in South Africa, finishing bottom of Group B and crashing out in the first round.

Daily Trust

Related stories: FIFA rules on suspending Nigeria today

President Goodluck Jonathan suspends Super Eagles 

Lars Lagerback takes blame for Super Eagles' Fall

1 comment:

  1. sir i praise u for the good job i have done for nigerians.i love u ,go ahead but sir i have a problem. i am an orphan ,i struggle to gain my admission to nigeria college of education.but i was later sent back because i have not paid up my school fees.and the money is about 20,000 naira and nobody can help me.pls sir i need your parternal assistance.if u want to help me ,send the money to this acct:3793010133456 first bank ,ondo state ,akure branch.Nwanze kingsley o. if u reply ,send your message to this email:kings_oye@yahoo.com