FIFA May Ban Nigeria From Competitions

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Following the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung’s directive that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) should comply with the Supreme Court judgment delivered on April 27, 2018, sacking Amaju Pinnick-led board, sport analysts and Festus Keyamo, a lawyer, said on Monday that the world football governing body, FIFA, may ban Nigeria from competitions.

The Supreme Court had upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court, setting aside the election into the executive committee of the NFF held on September 30, 2014.

The obvious implication of all these is that if any attempt is made to recognize Chris Giwa and derecognize Amaju Pinnick and his board, FIFA will definitely impose a lengthy ban on Nigeria from all football competitions locally and internationally and that will spell doom for Nigerian football, analysts and Keyamo said.

It should be noted that FIFA has consistently maintained that the matter has been taken to the highest Court of Sports Arbitration in Switzerland by the same individuals and they have lost.

“FIFA is only bound by the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sports and does not entertain or tolerate decisions by local courts in footballing nations worldwide.

“Hence, FIFA has since upheld the decision of the Court of Arbitration on this matter and recognised the NFF board led by Amaju Pinnick.

“Nigeria has a duty to comply with that decision. In addition, for the indiscretion of those individuals like Chris Giwa to approach the local courts, FIFA has since imposed a worldwide ban on them from all footballing activities,” said solicitor to Pinnick, Festus Keyamo.

The immediate casualties of this ban would be the Falconets who have qualified and are scheduled to participate in the Under-20 Female World Cup this month; the final phases of the AFCON qualifiers for the Super Eagles scheduled for August/September this year and the Super Falcons defending their title in December in Ghana this year.

In addition, no Nigerian club side would be allowed to participate in the continental championships and the future of all Nigerian players based in Nigeria would be in jeopardy as no Nigerian player would be allowed to be sold or transferred to any club anywhere in the world, they said.

It should be noted that the NFF is not an independent association. It is an affiliate of FIFA by virtue of Article 59, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of FIFA Statutes.

However, the Federal Government compels the defendants, including Dalung, their servants, agents and privies, the Inspector General of Police and all law enforcement agencies to forthwith enforce the orders made by the court on September 19, 2014 and October 23, 2014 and give recognition to the General Assembly Meeting and election of the NFF held on August 26, 2014 under the leadership of Chris Giwa pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed in this case.

Meanwhile, Giwa on Monday invaded the Glass House of the NFF in Abuja with some members of his board and took control of the body’s headquarters.

He claimed that he is the rightfully elected president of the NFF.

Stakeholders are already divided in their views on the issue as some urged Pinnick to respect the court orders while others insisted that football matters should not be taken to the court of law unless Court of Sports Arbitration.

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