Nigeria at risk of FIFA suspension

Nigeria is currently at risk of being banned by FIFA in retaliation to Chris Giwa failing to step down as president of the football federation by the Monday deadline.

If a suspension is enforced, it could affect Nigeria’s qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations against Congo on 6th September and South Africa on the 10th.

Last week, FIFA had rejected the appointment of Giwa which was the result of a controversial election, which the previous NFF President Aminu Maigari was not even present due to being detained by the Department of State Security, a result that split the NFF.

The world’s governing body of Football said that it did not recognise the executives’ election, but added that “it appears the Ministry of Sport has.”

“Should there still be persons claiming to have been elected and occupying the NFF offices at midnight on Monday 1st September, we will bring the case to the appropriate FIFA body for sanctions which may include the suspension of the NFF,” said the FIFA statement on Friday.

However FIFA have now accepted the dicision of the majority congress, where 39 of its 44 members  resolved in an ad hoc general assembly for executive committee relations in Nigeria to take place on 4th September.

The disputes within the NFF are not new, and have already led to FIFA intervening, an international suspension and the enforced return of outgoing NFF president Aminu Maigari twice.

Giwa however, played down the threat from FIFA.

“We will present our position to FIFA by Monday morning and they will be convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that we adopted the correct statutes before organising the election.” He said.

“We call on Nigerians not to panic. The NFF is not intimidated and we do not expect any sanction because we have done the appropriate thing. There is absolutely nothing to fear. FIFA will receive the position of the Federation and will be convinced that elections have, indeed, taken place,” Giwa added.

The current crisis surrounding the elections have meant that league matches will not be played across the country this weekend after referees, club manages and players announced a boycott until the situation is resolved.

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