Despite a terrific World Cup run, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have gotten their wings clipped by FIFA. The Nigerian Football Federation has been suspended immediately on the account of government interference. The interference took place after allegations of players not being paid on time by the Federation and other incidents of mistreatment of the World Cup squad.
FIFA issued the following statement related to Nigeria’ suspension:
“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 decision follows a letter sent by Fifa to the NFF on 4 July 2014, in which it expressed its great concern after the NFF was served with court proceedings and consequently an order preventing the president of the NFF, the NFF Executive Committee members and the NFF Congress from running the affairs of Nigerian football was granted by a High Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The ruling effectively has banned all Nigerian teams, including clubs from international competition. If the government restores the previous board of the Federation, FIFA has the ability to rescind the ban. However, the Nigerian Government and Football Federation are now in a race against the clock to get the suspension lifted before July 15th. If they fail to do so Nigeria would be removed from participation in the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada.
“The suspension will be lifted once the court actions have been withdrawn and the properly elected NFF Executive Committee, the NFF general assembly and the NFF administration are able to work without any interference in their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.”
The hope is that the Nigerian Football Federation will sort this mess out and get the ban rescinded in time to participate in the Under-20 Women’s World Cup. The Nigerian people desperately need good news and a distraction from the troubles the country has seen in the recent months. Football can help provide that remedy for the country.