FIFA ban unlikely as government, Zurich discuss

Pius Ayinor

Nigeria will most likely escape the FIFA ban hanging over it going by the details of the talks and correspondence held so far between the Nigerian government and the Zurich-based world football governing body, reports Last week, FIFA issue a ban-threat to Nigeria and Ghana with the deadline for the hammer slated for 12 noon on Monday, August 20.

But while Ghana responded swiftly to the ban threat by decidedly adopting to work by the FIFA statutes, Nigeria dragged its feet as Chris Giwa who has been laying claim to the Nigeria Football Federation in the past four years continued with the civil court cases with tacit support of the Sports Minister Solomon Dalung.

The situation in Nigeria appears to have strongly changed however positively as a government official with knowledge of the correspondence between Abuja and Zurich in the last few days told that both sides had discussed deeply which has given FIFA enough assurance to ease the threat. He said the government had proven to a very great extent that they would run along with the statutes. Incidentally, the sports minister has continually argued that the Nigerian courts and laws must take precedence over the FIFA laws which insist that football cases should be settled by football and sports bodies instead of the regular courts.

He said, “I can state categorically that given the level both sides (Federal Government of Nigeria and FIFA) had reached by the week, the ban has been rested. That we can say at least for now unless Nigeria fails to fulfil its own part of the deal. The government opened very strong communications with FIFA immediately after the then Acting President Prof Yemi Osinbajo met NFF President Amaju Pinnick and his team and of course with Dalung also.

“Serious quiet investigations had been on by government before those meetings and the government was completely of the view that Nigeria respect laws of international bodies in other areas, then it must also do the same with football and sports generally as long we signed those international treaties.”

Nigerians had hoped that the Federal High Court in Jos would set aside an ex parte motion that Giwa and his team have used to lay legitimacy to the NFF leadership and even physically occupy the NFF secretariat soon after they Super Eagles were eliminated from the Russia 2018 World Cup.