FIFA Lifts Threat To Suspend Nigeria As FG Recognises Pinnick-Led NFF Executive
World football governing body FIFA has confirmed that the leadership of the control of the Nigeria Football Federation has been given back to the legitimate executive led by Amaju Pinnick and General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi.
This is in line with the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council of August 13 concerning the NFF leadership tussle.
As a result, FIFA has lifted its threat to suspend Nigeria.
FIFA’s decision followed the decision of the Nigerian government to recognise the Pinnick-led executive as the authentic leadership of the NFF.
The Federal Government had written to FIFA at the weekend, informing it of its decision, a move that is in line with the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council.
In view of these circumstances, FIFA deemed that the conditions it set have now been met and consequently the suspension of the NFF will not take effect.
FIFA will, however, continue to closely monitor the situation in order to ensure that its rules and regulations are fully adhered to.
The Federal Government had announced its recognition of the Amaju Pinnick-led executive as the authentic leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation on Monday.
In a tweet on Monday, minutes before the 12 pm deadline given by FIFA for the resolution of the leadership tussle, Mr Laolu Akande, Special Assistant to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, confirmed that the government had already informed FIFA of the decision.
The leadership tussle in the NFF had taken a major twist on July 2 when Mr Chris Giwa took control of the NFF secretariat after the Sports Minister, Mr Solomon Dalung, directed the football federation to comply with a Supreme Court ruling of April 27, 2018.
In the ruling, the Supreme Court had restored the orders of the Federal High Court setting aside the election won by Pinnick.
Both Giwa and Pinnick have been engaged in a legal battle for the leadership of the NFF since 2014.
Giwa was declared the winner of an election which was held in Abuja on August 26 of that year, while Pinnick won a second poll that was conducted in Warri on September 30, 2014.
After Giwa took over control of the NFF Secretariat, world football governing body FIFA, faulted the move and announced on July 13 that it recognised Pinnick as the NFF president.
Just over a month later, with the leadership tussle unresolved, on August 13, FIFA threatened to suspend Nigeria from its activities.
It said the country would be suspended on August 20 (today) if the NFF offices “are not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under Amaju Pinnick, who was duly elected on September 30, 2014”.
It added, “The NFF will be suspended with immediate effect for contravening art. 14 par. 1 i) and art. 19, as well as art. 14 par. 1 a) of the FIFA Statutes.”
Had the country been suspended, FIFA would lift the sanction “only once the NFF, under Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, confirms that it has been given back effective control of the NFF and its offices”.
It remains unclear if the decision of the government and the lifting of the suspension threat would finally bring the prolonged leadership crisis in Nigerian football to an end finally as the legal tussle in the Nigerian court has not been settled.