Nigeria’s football stakeholders and indeed the government are awaiting the final ruling on a suspension from world football as FIFA deadline of today, August 20, 2018, 12:00 noon passes.
The world soccer governing body had set the cut-off time for Nigeria’s government to ensure Ambassador Chris Giwa give up his claim to the presidency of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and restore Amaju Pinnick-led board back to office or face suspension from all FIFA organise competitions.
FIFA, in a statement issued on Tuesday, last week, stated categorically that if the NFF failed to put its house in order by 12noon, today, Nigeria will be banned from all its activities, reiterating that it does not recognise Giwa election on August 26, 2014.
It would be recall that shortly after the Super Eagles crashed out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the NFF’s has been in turmoil with Chris Giwa and his board members took over the affairs of the NFF until the Department of State Services (DSS) officials sent them out and brought in General Secretary, Muhammed Sanusi, who is loyal to Amaju Pinnick team.
But Giwa, who believes he was legitimately elected during a contested ballot in 2014 and backed by a Supreme Court verdict, is still laying claims to be in charge of Nigerian football even as refused to recognise him.
A Step by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung for a meeting with the World’s Football governing body, FIFA for possible solution to the crisis was turned down.
Dalung in a bid to discuss the ongoing leadership tussle rocking Nigeria’s football had wrote to FIFA, LEADERSHIP Sports reliably gathered, through the office of the Nigerian Ambassador to Switzerland, seeking to meet with the FIFA President Gianni Infantino alongside members of his reconciliatory committee and Chris Giwa. However, FIFA, in a swift reply to Dalung’s request, rejected the idea while reiterating the stance of the Bureau Council of FIFA to ban Nigeria today, if they fail to comply with its directive.
Super Eagles are due to play Seychelles on Sept 8, 2018 in a qualifier for the 2019 African Nations Cup in but a ban could lead to an expulsion from the preliminaries.
Nigeria have a long history of being threatened with FIFA sanctions for government or court interference in NFF affairs but have previously always backed down. Ghana were also warned on Tuesday but their government has quickly climbed down over a proposed legal bid to wind up the country’s football association (GFA) over corruption allegations. They have agreed to work together “to offer leadership in reforming football administration in Ghana and in Africa” and will set up a “normalisation committee” to administer football in the country as well as a task force to create disciplinary, governance and auditing mechanisms.