Once again this year the world football governing body, FIFA, has given Nigeria a deadline to avoid suspension from international football.
Confederation of African Football President, Issa Hayatou, has warned that Nigeria is in danger of being banned by FIFA by Monday (today) after a court sacked the recently elected Nigeria Football Federation Executive Committee. Indeed, it was explained that the Super Falcons were allowed to play the AWC final match against Cameroon on Saturday after a plea was made to FIFA executives led by Sepp Blatter.
Last Thursday, the Federal High Court sitting in Jos gave a ruling setting aside the NFF elections of September 30 in Warri which had ushered in the new Exco. The court ruling has angered FIFA officials who had warned that the country would be banned if there were any further interference from any civil court on purely football matters.
Hayatou told the Minister of Sports Dr. Tammy Danagogo in Windhoek, Namibia that they were fed up with events in Nigeria.
He said, “I (Hayatou) 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. 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.”
The PUNCH learnt that at a meeting that had in attendance Danagogo; Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Namibia, Ambassador 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 Hayatou made it clear that Nigeria would be suspended if there was no improvement by the start of the week.
“I appealled 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.
“If Nigeria no longer wants to be part of the football world, then so be it.”
NFF president Amaju Melvin Pinnick was stopped by security operatives at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on his way to Namibia on Friday night with the sports minister.
FIFA has warned that If Nigeria gets suspended, they will not revisit the matter until their 65th Congress on May 29, 2015.