Nigeria avoid international suspension

Sept 9, 10:31 AM

ABUJA - African champions Nigeria on Tuesday avoided a ban from international football after FIFA said the country's football association had complied with a directive about its leadership.

The world governing body said it welcomed the fact that ousted president Aminu Maigari and his executive committee had been able to return to work and as a result lifted the threat of sanctions.

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters

Sept 8, 9:51 AM

FIFA deadline passes for under-threat Nigeria

Sept 8, 9:51 AM

ABUJA - A FIFA deadline on the Nigeria Football Federation passed on Monday with no sign at the association's offices of the body's president whose controversial appointment led to a threat of a ban.

The world governing body said last week it would suspend the African champions from international competition if Chris Giwa and his executive committee were still at work after 0700 GMT Monday.

But the deadline came and went with Giwa and his predecessor Aminu Maigari nowhere to be seen at the NFF headquarters in Abuja while there was no immediate word from FIFA about the next steps.

NFF general-secretary Musa Amadu, competitions director Mohammed Sanusi and marketing head Idris Adama arrived for work, however. They were part of Maigari's team ousted by Giwa last month.

"It has been a trying period of two months for all of us but we have come to the end of the crisis," Amadu told reporters.

"Nigerian football is far more important than any one of us. Let us put everything behind us. We have to now do the right thing in order to move our football forward.

"We will soon have an extra-ordinary assembly to set a date for elections for the new executive committee. This will be at the shortest possible time, not beyond September 25."

A power struggle for control of the NFF has been rumbling since the end of the World Cup finals and saw Maigari ousted, impeached on corruption charges.

He was then arrested by the country's secret police, allegedly to prevent him attending an August 26 meeting at which Giwa took charge and a new executive committee was appointed.

That prompted a boycott of domestic leagues by referees, clubs and players and FIFA to say that they did not recognise his appointment.

FIFA previously suspended Nigeria from international competition in July on the grounds of "government interference" in the running of its affairs but later lifted the ban.

Sept 6, 1:25 PM

PHOTO: Chris Giwa sits alone as Nigeria faces FIFA ban

Sept 6, 1:25 PM

Below is Exhibit A for what it's like to be a pariah.

Nigerian Football Federation head Chris Giwa didn't have much company for the Super Eagles' ANC qualifier against Congo on Saturday.

FIFA is demanding Giwa step down, or else Nigeria will be suspended from international competition.

The current regime, led by Giwa, has been mired by corruption allegations.

Sept 3, 3:51 PM

FIFA extend Nigeria suspension threat deadline

Sept 3, 3:51 PM

ZURICH - FIFA on Wednesday set Nigeria a new deadline to elect officials to run its game, threatening the African champions with immediate suspension from international competition if the current regime did not step down.

The world governing body said on its website that it had decided to extend by one week a deadline for Chris Giwa to stand down as the head of the NFF with his appointed executive committee.

Giwa, a club owner, was appointed to run Nigerian football in controversial circumstances on August 26 after the incumbent, Aminu Maigari, was arrested and held by the country's secret police, allegedly to stop him attending a meeting of top NFF officials.

In a statement, FIFA's Emergency Committee said it had sent a letter to the NFF "confirming that the NFF will be suspended with immediate effect should there still be persons claiming to have been elected to NFF positions on 26 August 2014 and occupying their offices on Monday 8 September 2014 at 0800 (Central European Time, 0700 GMT)".

The ultimatum means FIFA only recognises Maigari as properly elected. Giwa has said he will not step down.

The suspension will last "until the board claiming to be elected vacates the premises of the NFF and the NFF General Secretary (Maigari) is able to perform his work without interference", the statement added.

Fresh executive committee elections should be held as early as possible, FIFA said.

A power struggle for leadership of the NFF has been rumbling since the end of the World Cup finals and has seen Maigari ousted, impeached on corruption allegations and reinstated even before his detention.

FIFA suspended Nigeria from international competition in July on the grounds of "government interference" in the running of its affairs but later lifted the ban.

Giwa's disputed appointment led to a league boycott by referees, clubs and players last weekend.

The dispute has dominated the build-up to Nigeria's first Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo, which takes place on Saturday in the southeastern city of Calabar.

July 18, 2:14 PM

FIFA lifts Nigeria's suspension from international competition

July 18, 2:14 PM

FIFA has lifted the suspension recently levied against the Nigerian national team - which had been imposed as a result of government interference. 

Following the team's World Cup elimination at the hands of France in the Round of 16, the country's government attempted to have the executive members of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) replaced.

FIFA has strict rules in place that allow it to protect its member federations from third-party influence, which includes meddling politicians. The ban was lifted after NFF president Aminu Maigari, the executive committee and congress were reinstated.

The suspension against the Super Eagles threatened to derail their participation in the upcoming U-20 Women’s World Cup (5-24 August 2014).

July 9, 1:30 PM

FIFA suspends Nigeria over government interference

July 9, 1:30 PM

FIFA suspended the Nigerian Football Federation with immediate effect due to government interference. 

Government officials sacked the entire national football federation leadership after the Super Eagles fell to France in the round of 16. 

In doing so,  the defending African champions risked an international ban.

The Nigerian government had until Tuesday to reinstate President Aminu Maigari, but failed to do so.

As a result of the ban no Nigerian football team, including clubs, will be allowed to participate in international sporting events. 

That means Nigeria will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup (5-24 August 2014) should the suspension not be lifted by July 15. 

Meanwhile, Maigari is under investigation by Nigeria's State Security Service for losing $90,000 dollars that was meant for the U-20 team. 

The funds were lost during a flight, according to Maigari. 

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino

July 6, 4:18 PM

Nigeria heading for FIFA ban over interference

July 6, 4:18 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Nigerian officials are not backing down after sacking the entire national football federation leadership, ignoring a FIFA directive and risking an international ban for the reigning African champion.

A weekend meeting of football and government officials endorsed the earlier sacking of Nigeria Football Federation President Aminu Maigari and his executive committee.

The meeting - which FIFA said it would not recognize - also decided to plan new elections. The NFF is being led by an official appointed by the sports minister.

FIFA does not allow governments to interfere in football affairs and has given Nigeria until Tuesday to reinstate Maigari or face sanctions.

Delegates at the meeting said Maigari was responsible for embarrassing Nigeria at the World Cup by not resolving a player payment dispute. He was arrested on his return from Brazil.

July 4, 5:03 PM

FIFA warns Nigeria after football leader arrested

July 4, 5:03 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO - Nigeria could be suspended by FIFA after the country's football federation leaders were removed from office and its president was arrested on returning from the World Cup.

FIFA says Nigeria's government must reinstate the federation's executive committee by Tuesday or risk a ban.

FIFA says it has ''taken note of the detention of NFF President Aminu Maigari carried out by representatives of the Department of the State Security Service.''

The turmoil follows Nigeria's World Cup exit Monday when it lost 2-0 to France in the second round.

After Nigeria's 2010 World Cup exit, state President Goodluck Jonathan threatened to shut down the national team for two years before FIFA intervened.

FIFA rules protect member federations from government interference.

A FIFA suspension bar teams and officials from international matches and meetings.