WC 2010: Nigeria risks FIFA ban after President suspends team

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Nigeria risks a massive ban by world soccer's governing body FIFA after the country's President, Goodluck Jonathan, suspended the national soccer team from international competitions for two years for performing poorly at the ongoing World Cup in South Africa.
According to the details of the suspension, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF ) will be dissolved while an interim board would be appointed to run football affairs in Africa's most populous nation.
An audit of the expenses on Nigeria's ill-fated participation at the World Cup w ill also be carried out as part of efforts to.
"enable Nigeria to re-organise its football".
But analysts said the President's action might have contravened FIFA statutes wh ich prohibit government's interference in football.
A FIFA statement, reacting to the Nigerian President's decision, reiterated that fact, saying ''Our statutes do not allow for any political interference.
'' That means FIFA may ban the country's national squad and clubs from all internat ional competitions, in addition to banning its officials from attending meetings and also banning the country's referees.
Meanwhile, Nigeriaâ?s anti graft Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC ) has invited officials of the NFF to come and explain how they spent the funds given to them before the start of the World Cup, source s close to the NFF said.
The amount of money involved is not clear, but the local media said it could be in excess of 900 million Naira (US$1=150 Naira) In a related development, President Jonathan has directed the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Nigeria's participation on the 2010 World Cup to erect a new office complex for the NFF in Abuja.
Jonathan said this had become necessary because there must a change in the way f ootball is run in the country.
''I want you to see this as a task that must be accomplished in the next 12 mont hs.
This is part of efforts to reposition and I hope you will take this up as a challenge,'' the President said.
PTF chair and governor of southern Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, said; ''We are going to do our best to make sure that in 12 months time, the office is ready for use.
'' Nigeria did not win a single match in the first stage of the first World Cup to be held on the African soil, losing to Argentina and Greece and managing a draw against South Korea to suffer a disastrous first-round exit.

01 july 2010 11:06:00

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