Nigeria’s sports ministry is adamant that its government didn’t interfere with the running of the country’s soccer federation.
The International Soccer Federation (FIFA) suspended the West African country after the soccer federation was dissolved and replaced by a sole administrator.
Nigeria’s National Sports Commission (NSC) claims the issue is a result of a court action.
“The National Sports Commission has received the news of the suspension of the NFF by FIFA on the grounds of an alleged court order which the world soccer body has interpreted as government interference in the affairs of the soccer house,” the commission said in a statement. “We wish to state that the said court action brought against the NFF followed an internal crisis within the soccer family and has nothing to do with government.”
The NSC added it believes the ban is “a procedural practice by FIFA each time it feels that there is an alleged interference by government”.
It also urged Nigerians to remain calm.
“Efforts are being made to ensure that the suspension is lifted as soon as possible as appropriate representation has been made to FIFA to present the true situation of the crisis within the soccer family,” it stated.
The NFF is currently under the control of a sole administrator, a move the government said was essential while legal proceedings against the country’s soccer authority were ongoing.
Aminu Maigari, the soccer federation president, was arrested on his return to the country after the World Cup.
The FIFA ban means no Nigerian team – including club sides – can play internationally.
The most immediate effect is that the country will not be entitled to take part in the Under-20 Women’s World Cup, which starts on August 5 in Canada if the suspension is not lifted by July 15.
Nigeria is in the same group with England, Mexico and Korea Republic.
By RON FANFAIR