Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Nigeria risk expulsion from FIFA over government's football ban

Nigeria could be expelled from FIFA if the world governing body decides there has been unacceptable government interference.

FIFA are investigating the Nigerian president's announcement that he has banned the national side from competition for two years as punishment for their poor World Cup campaign.

President Goodluck Jonathan's decree includes the Nigerian Football Federation being dissolved and an interim board appointed.





That appears to fly in the face of FIFA's rules on government interference in the running of national associations - Sepp Blatter has already warned France's government against meddling in the French federation's affairs.





Under FIFA rules, national associations can be suspended or even expelled if there is such interference.





FIFA communications director Nicolas Maingot said: "The worst sanction available is that a national association can be expelled but this is not related to either of the two cases.





"In terms of Nigeria we have received official information from their government.





"We are looking at both cases. FIFA has a very clear position on political interference but it is premature to speak further about either case."





Special presidential adviser Ima Niboro said: "President Goodluck Jonathan has directed that Nigeria withdraws from international competition for two years to enable the country to put its house in order.





"This directive became necessary following Nigeria's poor performance in the ongoing World Cup."



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