Article

FIFA suspends Nigeria over political interference

9 July 2014 20:31

FIFA have suspended the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with immediate effect, citing government interference.

Nigeria's national and club teams will be unable to participate in any regional, continental or international competitions while the suspension in in place.

Similarly, the NFF and its members will not be able to take part in any FIFA or Confederation of African Football (CAF) programmes or courses.

The African nation endured a turbulent conclusion and aftermath to its FIFA World Cup campaign in Brazil, which ended in a 2-0 last-16 defeat to France.

In the build-up to the match, Nigeria's players boycotted a training session amid reported disputes over bonus payments with the NFF, who have been accused by the country's government of hindering the team's efforts at the tournament.

Coach Stephen Keshi's post-tournament resignation proved to be the tip of the iceberg as the Nigerian government dissolved the NFF last Thursday, placing a sole administrator in charge and mounting legal proceedings against the federation.

Suspended NFF president Aminu Maigari was arrested upon his return from the World Cup last Friday, and the combination of these two factors prompted FIFA to demand the reinstatement of the body's executive committee by Tuesday.

But at an extraordinary general assembly on the NFF in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on Saturday, the removal of Maigari and his management staff was endorsed.

A Nigerian delegation, including ex-FIFA executive committee member Amos Adamu, took part in talks with world football's governing body in Brazil on Wednesday but were unable to avert the suspension

A statement released by world football’s governing body read: "The FIFA Emergency Committee has decided today, 9 July 2014, to suspend the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with immediate effect, on account of government interference.

"Article 13, par. 1 and article 17, par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes oblige member associations to manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.

"The decision follows a letter sent by FIFA to the NFF on 4 July 2014, in which it expressed its great concern after the NFF was served with court proceedings and consequently an order preventing the president of the NFF, the NFF Executive Committee members and the NFF Congress from running the affairs of Nigerian football was granted by a High Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"The suspension will be lifted once the court actions have been withdrawn and the properly elected NFF Executive Committee, the NFF general assembly and the NFF administration are able to work without any interference in their affairs."

Nigeria was the subject of a similar FIFA action over political interference in the NFF in October 2010.

The first FIFA tournament on the horizon for Nigeria with the current ban now in place is the Women's Under-20 World Cup, which takes place in Canada next month.

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