ZURICH: FIFA have given Nigeria and Ghana final deadlines to avoid international suspensions because of outside interference in their football associations.
FIFA said on Tuesday that the Nigerian football federation headquarters must be handed back to the elected leadership by next Monday (Aug 20) or the country will be suspended from international competition.
A group claiming to be in charge of Nigerian football took over the building last month while NFF president Amaju Pinnick was in Russia for the World Cup. The group claims a Nigerian court order gives them control of the federation.
The NFF said that the group had been removed after the World Cup but Pinnick still does not have control over the offices, according to the world’s governing body.
“The Bureau of the FIFA Council decided that if by Monday, 20 August 2018, at 12:00 (CET), the Nigeria Football Federation offices are not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick... the NFF will be suspended with immediate effect,” FIFA said in a statement. “The suspension would be lifted only once the NFF, under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, confirms that it has been given back effective control of the NFF and its offices.”
A suspension means Nigerian national teams won’t be allowed to take part in any international competitions, although FIFA said the Nigerian women’s under-20 team currently competing at the World Cup in France would be able to continue in that tournament ‘on an exceptional basis’ because it has already started.
But, if banned, Nigeria’s senior men’s team wouldn’t be able to participate in qualifying for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, which continues next month.
Ghana have been given until Aug 27 to reverse a court order dissolving their football association. The government ordered the GFA to be dissolved after allegations of widespread corruption in Ghanaian football were made in an undercover documentary.
Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2018