Nigeria’s Super Eagles have been docked three points by FIFA for fielding an ineligible player in a World Cup qualifier against Algeria. But despite the deduction Nigeria’s place at next year’s finals in Russia has not been affected, FIFA said on Tuesday.
Nigeria that had already qualified for the finals after beating Zambia 1-0 in Uyo, drew 1-1 in Algeria but FIFA awarded the match to the Algerians by a 3-0 scoreline after the Eagles fielded the ineligible Abdullahi Shehu who had failed to serve a one-match suspension for accumulated yellow cards.
“This sanction bears no impact on the final result of the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup since Nigeria had already qualified (and Algeria eliminated) before the match took place,” FIFA said in a statement.
Nigeria, who topped African Group B, finished on 12 points instead of 14, four clear of second-placed Zambia. Algeria still came bottom of the standings.
Nigeria will face Iceland, Croatia and Argentina in their World Cup group in Russia.
In another very drastic case, East Timor had forfeited seven of the 10 games they played in the World Cup qualifiers for fielding nine players who were ineligible because of nationality.
This was based on a decision previously taken by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) which has annulled 29 matches involving East Timor and barred the team from the 2023 Asian Cup. The nine players were all born in Brazil.