FIFA Ban Looms Today

Nigeria’s football is set to go into the wilderness today a the deadline given by FIFA for the reversal of the suspension clamped on the Aminu Maigari-led board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) expires.
Although National Sports Commission (NSC) sources confided in The New Sentinel last night that everything was been done to persuade Nembe Football Club owner, Mrs Ebiakpo Baribote, to withdraw her suit against the NFF, the strike action embarked upon by judiciary workers in Plateau State, appears to be the cog in getting the matter resolved.
Mrs Baribote is believed to have accepted to withdraw her case because of the assurance from the NSC that the 15 years ban from football activities slammed on her husband, Rumson Victor Baribote, by the NFF, will be declared null and void and also be allowed to contest the scheduled elections into the board of the federation.
“As I speak with you now, some top officials from the federal government level have waded into the matter and the president (Goodluck Jonathan) wants the issue to be resolved early enough not to incur FIFA’s ban, because as a sports lover he knows what football means to an average Nigerian fan and youths too.
“So I am confident that by tomorrow (Thursday) the case will be withdrawn for FIFA to lift the suspension placed on Nigeria which is the most important issue on ground now,” The New Sentinel learnt last night.
However, in the event that the FIFA axe falls on the country, the first casualty will be Nigeria’s Under-20 team heading to Canada for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Falconets who were billed to have traveled out since last week are still stranded at home, waiting for how this matter plays out.
Former Nigerian referees boss, Linus Mba, was last week replaced as CAF match commissioner due to the suspension.
Meanwhile, Federal Government through the Sports Ministry has in response to FIFA’s suspension refused to release NFF’s monthly allocation which amounts to about N235 million for July.
The amount, it was gathered would have covered Nigeria’s participation in the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup, and other engagements being undertaken by the NFF this month. The NSC directed the NFF to source its own funds to take care of its commitments for the month of July.
The NSC deemed the action as necessary to avoid accusations of interference in the administration of football in the country by the world football governing body, FIFA.
A top employee of the NFF however warned yesterday that football will suffer in Nigeria if the Federal Government refuses to reconsider its stand on funding the NFF.
“The immediate casualties will be the Under-17 team and the Female under-20 team but in the long run it will be a disaster for our football if government stops giving funds to the NFF although we have sponsorship deals. But the money won’t be enough as we participate in all FIFA competitions hence we have 11 national teams to cater for,” the source said.

Source: This Day


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