Rio de Janeiro: Fifa, on Wednesday, suspended the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with immediate effect over “government interference”.
The decision, in the aftermath of Nigeria’s World Cup last-16 loss, came after a court sacked the NFF and the government appointed a sole administrator for the country’s football shortly after the Super Eagles returned from Brazil.
“The Fifa Emergency Committee has decided today to suspend the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with immediate effect, on account of government interference,” a Fifa statement explained.
Fifa had sent a letter to the NFF last week expressing its concern after the NFF was served with court proceedings preventing its president from running the African country’s soccer affairs.
“As a result of this decision, no team from Nigeria of any sort (including clubs) can have any international sporting contact,” Fifa said.
“During the period of suspension, the NFF may not be represented in any regional, continental or international competitions, including at club level, or in friendly matches.”
Unless the suspension is lifted Nigeria will not be able to play in the upcoming Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup, to be held in Canada from August 5-24. Nigerians expressed shock and disappointment over the suspension.
The country’s Under-17 team, who are the defending world champions, are also in danger of missing out on the African Junior Championship next year in Niger as they have a qualifying match on July 20 in DR Congo.
Former Nigeria coach Christian Chukwu expressed disappointment over the ban, saying “our football will suffer a lot as this can only take us backwards”.
Former Lobi Stars and Akwa United coach Justin Tenger said it was a shame that Nigeria had to be told to do the right thing by Fifa.