FIFA, the world football governing body, will on Monday decide whether or not to suspend Nigeria from football competitions. On Saturday in Windhoek, Namibia, the president of the Confederation of African Football, Issa Hayatou, told Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Tammy Danagogo, that the world was fed up with Nigeria’s actions in the area of football administration.
“I had to plead passionately with FIFA President, Mr. Sepp Blatter not to take action on Nigeria on Friday, because Nigeria was in the final of the African Women Championship and a ban on your country would have been bad for the competition and our sponsors,” he said.
“We all heard the news of the court ruling on Thursday, and the football world is angry with Nigeria. That is the truth.”
“The FIFA letter that came to your Federation before the elections of September 30 was very clear about an automatic suspension should there be any interference with the political process, and after the elections went ahead, we all thought you had settled your issues,” he added
At the meeting that had Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Tamuno Danagogo; Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Namibia, Biodun Olorunfemi; Nigeria’s Deputy President of the CAF Appeal Board, Amanze Uchegbulam; CAF General Coordinator, Paul Bassey; and CAF Media Committee Member, Aisha Falode in attendance, Mr. Hayattou said there was no going back on the suspension of Nigeria this week if football matters were not withdrawn from civil courts.
“I appealed to FIFA to give until Monday for Nigeria to put its act together. After that, there is absolutely nothing I can do,” “It is all very disappointing because we have over 50 National Associations in Africa, but a big country like Nigeria is the one always giving us the biggest headache.
“Nigeria signed to be part of the football world by joining FIFA, and opted to abide by the FIFA –approved Statutes that you have. How many times do we have to tell your country that football matters are not taken to civil courts? If Nigeria no longer wants to be part of the football world, then so be it.”
His French words were translated to the rest of the Nigeria delegation by the multi-lingual Paul Bassey. Messrs. Blatter and Hayatou were among several world football leaders who congratulated Amaju Pinnick following his victory at the September 30 elections.
Following his ouster by the court, Mr. Pinnick, who was, inexplicably, stopped by security operatives at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on his way to Namibiaon Friday night with the Sports Minister, monitored the meeting on phone. On Thursday, the Federal High Court, Jos gave a ruling setting aside the FIFA–ordered elections of September 30 into the NFF Executive Committee, stoking the fire of anger at the world body’s Zurich headquarters.
The NFF Executive Committee, led by Mr. Pinnick, has filed for a stay-of-execution of the order at the same court, which the court said it will be hear on Wednesday. Ms. Falode, who spoke from Windhoek on Sunday, said it was obvious the Government of Nigeria has to now intervene to avoid the hammer falling on Nigeria football.
“The future of millions of Nigerian youth is being put at risk by some persons who feel they have nothing to lose in the case of a FIFA ban. It is now for the Government to wade in. If we get suspended from international football now, FIFA will not revisit the matter until their 65th Congress on May 29, 2015. That would be too bad for our country’s football,” Ms. Falode said.
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