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Not yet uhuru for Rivers United as NFF deliberates on Jigawa, Kwara United’s appeals

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Rivers United

• Federation begins process of amending statute
Rivers United’s hopes of playing in next season’s CAF Champions League still hangs in the balance following Jigawa Golden Stars and Kwara United’s appeals challenging the NFF Appeals Commitee’s decision to award three points and three goals to the Port Harcourt-based team following their protest that Jigawa Golden Stars fielded an ineligible player in their Week 34 game.

After their Week 34 game against Jigawa Golden Stars in Kaduna on July 21, Rivers United protested against the Dutse-based team, alleging that they fielded Richard Christropher, who was supposed to have been suspended from the game since he had accumulated five yellow cards.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) upheld the protest and awarded three points and three goals to Rivers United, which shot the Port Harcourt boys to the second position in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) table and a place in the CAF Champions League.

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The decision denied Kwara United, who ended in the fourth position a continental ticket, while facilitating Jigawa Golden Stars relegation to the lower Nigerian National League (NNL).

Now, Kwara United and Jigawa Golden Stars have challenged that judgement, alleging that it was not fair to all concerned. And in response, the NFF at its extraordinary general assembly in Benin City on Sunday ordered a review of the judgement to ensure justice to all concerned and also enable the federation choose the right candidates to represent Nigeria in CAF competitions next season.

The NFF added, “Given the importance of forwarding to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) the names of Nigeria’s four representatives in the next CAF Club competitions, the committee ordered that the NFF Appeals Committee must meet immediately to dispense with the appeal lodged by Jigawa Golden Stars FC and Kwara United FC against the decision of the NFF Disciplinary Committee at its sitting of August 5, which favoured Rivers United FC.”

In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the NFF also announced that it would start a process of reviewing its administrative architecture to align it with existing realities.

Justifying the decision to alter the statutes, the NFF said, “In view of the significant changes and disruptions to the way football (as well as other areas of life) is administered and organised globally in the past few years, made more poignant by the global coronavirus pandemic that threw the world into jeopardy at the beginning of year 2020 and still wreaking havoc, and the glaring obsoleteness of the current NFF Statutes, the executive committee resolved to forward a proposal to the Congress for approval of the commencement of the process for amendment of the NFF Statutes.”

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This process, it added, would commence immediately if approved by the congress.

The federation also examined the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualification process and assured that the Super Eagles would win Group C of the qualifying process and also the play-off after that to ensure Nigeria is represented at the competition.

On the Aisha Buhari Invitational Womne Championship, which Lagos will host in September, the NFF revealed that it has received detailed briefing from the Seyi Akinwunmi-led local organising committee (LOC), adding that it has given the LOC authority “to proceed apace with all arrangements and focus hard at organising a tournament that will uphold the virtues of decency, excellence and uprightness for which the First Lady is known.”

It also urged the NFF secretariat to ensure that the Super Falcons are adequately prepared to win the tournament.

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