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FIFA shelves ban on Nigeria, vows to monitor NFF situation


President of Nigeria Football Federation Amaju Pinnick speaks to the media in Abuja, Nigeria, July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

The world football governing body, Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), has shelved its plan to ban Nigeria from international soccer, citing the Federal Government’s pledge to abide by the protocol binding member-countries of the body.

FIFA had last week given Nigeria up till yesterday to ensure that the duly elected board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), led by Melvin Amaju Pinnick, exercises its functions without undue government interference. It threatened to ban the country indefinitely from international football if government did not meet the terms of its protocol.

In a letter made available to The Guardian yesterday, FIFA said it had received assurances from the Nigerian government that the Pinnick-led NFF would be allowed to continue administering Nigerian football without any hindrance.

The letter reads: “Following the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council of August 13, 2018 concerning the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), FIFA received confirmation that the legitimate leadership of the NFF under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi has been given back effective control of the NFF and its offices.

“In view of these circumstances, FIFA deems that the conditions set by the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council have now been met and consequently the suspension of the NFF will not take effect.

“FIFA will continue to closely monitor the situation to ensure that FIFA’s rules and regulations are fully adhered to.”Earlier, the Presidency through the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said it recognised the Pinnick-led NFF board as the authentic executives of the federation.

Akande posted on his Twitter handle that the Federal Government had already conveyed its position to the FIFA, adding that the government would continue to work with stakeholders to resolve the federation’s dispute in due time.

“The Federal Government has already conveyed to FIFA its firm position recognising Amaju Pinnick-led NFF as the current and only NFF executive.“Government will also continue to work with all relevant stakeholders involved to resolve the dispute in a timely manner.“The Federal Government is upholding NFF treaty obligations to FIFA,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Mohammed, who thanked the Federal Government for its fatherly role in resolving the issues, pledged that the NFF would continue to strive hard to uplift Nigerian football.The NFF Secretary-General, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday, said: “We have been working from the secretariat since the Presidency intervened in the crisis. “Now, we will channel our energies to building Nigerian football instead of unnecessary crisis.”

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Amaju PinnickFifaNFF
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