FIFA suspends Nigeria for government interference

Zurich: FIFA has suspended the Nigerian
Football Federation for government interference, almost
certainly preventing the country from taking part in
qualifying for the African Cup of Nations this weekend.

Several developments led to FIFA imposing the suspension
yesterday, including court actions against elected members of
the NFF executive committee, the federation`s general
secretary stepping down on orders from the government-run
National Sports Commission, and the decision of the sports
minister to start the Nigerian football league without
relegation from the previous season.

FIFA rules prohibit government interference with national
football governing bodies.

Nigeria had been due to play in Guinea in its second
qualifier in Group B the African Cup on Sunday.

FIFA says the suspension will last until "the duly
elected NFF executive committee is able to work without any
interference," meaning none of the country`s teams are allowed
to take part in any competition "regional, continental or

Calls to NFF officials seeking comment were not answered.
Nigeria`s federation was threatened with a similar ban in
July when the country`s president, Goodluck Jonathan, said he
would pull the national team out of competition because of its
poor showing at the World Cup in South Africa. Jonathan
eventually backed down following an ultimatum from FIFA.

However, FIFA said at the time it would continue
monitoring Nigerian football for possible interference from
the government.

Bureau Report