FIFA threatens to suspend Nigeria

WORLD Soccer-governing body, FIFA, did not mince words Monday when it warned of suspending Nigeria from all football activities with regard to the ruling of the Federal High Court in Jos which nullified the elections of 30 September, 2014 that installed Melvin Amaju Pinnick as President of the Nigeria Football Federation.

In a letter signed by Acting Secretary General of FIFA, Markus Kattner and titled; ”Verdict of the Jos Federal High Court” and addressed to President of NFF, Pinnick, FIFA scribe frowned that the decision of the Federal High Court in Jos, if implemented, would likely be considered as an interference in the internal affairs of the NFF with severe consequences that would include the suspension of the NFF.

And in this case, suspension of NFF practically means blighting our national teams from international competitions such as the U-23 Dream Team from the Rio Olympic Football event, the Super Falcons from the 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations in Cameroun, the World Cup qualifiers and even affecting Enyimba’s search for a third Champions League trophy for Nigeria.

FIFA copied Confederation of African Football, CAF, the letter sent to Nigeria. In expressing its disgust with the desperation of the plaintiff who lost his appeal to the same matter with Court of Arbitration for Sport(CAS) on 18 May 2015, FIFA reminded the NFF of its powers to take sanctions against those who fail to respect ”these obligations”.

We reproduce the FIFA’s letter: Verdict of the Jos Federal High Court Dear President, We acknowledge receipt of your correspondence dated 8 April 2016 with regard to the ruling of the Federal High Court in Jos which apparently nullified the elections of 30 September 2014 of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF).

In this respect, and first of all, we would Iike to remind you that according t0 articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes, all members associations have t0 manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties In addition and according to article 68 of the FIFA Statutes, recourse to ordinary courts of Iaw is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations.

Furthermore, it is the duty of each member association to ensure that these provisions are implemented by its members and possibly take sanctions against those which fail to respect these obligations. In view of the above, the decision of the Federal High Court in Jos, if implemented, would likely be considered a5 an interference in the internal affairs of the NFF and the case would be brought to the highest authorities of FIFA for consideration of sanctions, including the suspension of the NFF.

Lastly, we would like to Stress that the plaintiff in question already filed an appeal in relation to the same matter with the highest judicial Sport authorities, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and that said appeal was dismissed by the CAS on 18 May 2015. We thank you for taking note of the above and kindly ask you to keep us informed of any development.

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