July 14, 2020

Nigerian Government Causes FIFA to Suspend Nigeria Football Federation

Nigerian soccer players Nigerian soccer players Photo Credit: Jean Catuffe

By now, you probably saw or heard about the World Cup blow-out match between Germany and Brasil.

A story that is flying under the radar is that the FIFA Emergency Committee decided today Wednesday, July 9, 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 obliges member associations to manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.

A Nigerian high-court ruling on July 4, 2014, granted an injunction to suspend the country's top soccer official, Aminu Maigari, along with his executive committee and the NFF congress, according to the BBC.

The said court order compelled the Nigerian Minister of Sports to appoint a senior member of the civil service to manage the NFF until the matter was heard in court, without giving any date for such a hearing. The authorities then appointed a person who decided to convene an extraordinary general assembly on July 5, 2014. This extraordinary general assembly was convened in violation of the NFF statutes.

Originally, an elective congress had been planned by the NFF to take place on August 26, 2014.

The suspension will be lifted once the court actions have been withdrawn and the properly elected NFF Executive Committee, the NFF general assembly, and the NFF administration are able to work without any interference in their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

As a result of this decision, no team from Nigeria of any sort (including clubs) can have any international sporting contact (art. 14 par. 3 of the FIFA Statutes). During the period of suspension, the NFF may not be represented in any regional, continental or international competitions, including at club level, or in friendly matches.

The most immediate effect is that Nigeria will not be entitled to participate in the upcoming FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup (August 5 – 24, 2014) should the suspension not be lifted by July 15, 2014.

In addition, neither the NFF nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any FIFA or CAF development programs, courses or training during the suspension period.

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