FIFA has clearly stated that it is against third-party interference in national football federations.
After the Nigerian government hit the Nigeria Football Federation with a court order that prevents it from doing its job, the FIFA Emergency Committee decided to suspend the NFF from all international competition on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.
According to an official statement released on FIFA.com website, the suspension won’t be lifted until “the court actions have been withdrawn,” which could lead to the Nigeria Under-20 women’s team missing out on the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in August:
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… The suspension will be lifted once the court actions have been withdrawn and the properly elected NFF Executive Committee, the NFF general assembly and the NFF administration are able to work without any interference in their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.
The Nigerian government sacked the entire NFF leadership following the team’s return from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and appointed its own official, which is in violation of FIFA’s official statutes.
To make matters worse, the NFF President, Aminu Maigari was even arrested due to an incident with player payments during the tournament, which led to the Nigerian government’s decision to go against FIFA’s directives.
Government officials want to look into the finances of the NFF under Maigari, with delegate Obinna Ogba mentioned, “Don’t forget that in as much as we respect FIFA’s law, we cannot jettison our own law here.”
This isn’t the first time Nigeria’s government has interfered with the NFF, as country president Goodluck Jonathan threatened to withdraw the team from international competition after a subpar 2010 World Cup.
The Super Eagles made it out of the group stages of the 2014 World Cup but lost to France in the round of 16, 2-0.
The Nigerian government has until the July 15 to lift the court actions and reinstate all of the NFF officials, assuring they’ll be able to work without third-party interference. Should the government fail to comply by then, the women’s U-20 team will be banned from the upcoming Women’s World Cup.
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