World football governing body, FIFA, has given Nigeria until Friday, October 31, 2014 to resolve the crisis in the Nigeria Football Federation or face a lengthy ban from all football related activities.
In a letter addressed to Amaju Pinnick who was duly elected as the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) at the September 30 elections in Warri, Delta State, Secretary General of FIFA, Jerome Valcke, said that the world football body extended the grace period for Nigeria from yesterday till Friday as an opportunity to avoid a lengthy ban.
“This gives Nigerian football a last opportunity to avoid a lengthy suspension. We inform you that if by Friday 31 October 2014 at midday Nigerian time we have not received proof that the case (the Jos Federal High Court ruling that sacked the Pinnick led NFF board) has been definitively withdrawn from court and that the board elected on 30 September 2014 is able to carry out its activities without any hindrance, we will refer the case to the FIFA Emergency Committee for implementation of the suspension,” observed the statement from FIFA yesterday.
FIFA said that it was aware of the order granted by the Federal High Court in Jos nullifying the NFF elections of 30 September 2014 and the fact that some persons claiming to have been legitimately elected previously went to occupy the offices of the NFF, thereby causing great confusion among the administrative staff .
“We also note that security forces prevented you (Pinnick) from travelling to Namibia where you were supposed to represent the NFF at the final match of the African Women’s Championship.
“As stated in our previous letters dated 9 September 2014 and 2 October 2014, , FIFA stressed that should the electoral process and the instalment of the newly elected NFF board be affected by any interference, the case would be brought to the attention of the appropriate FIFA bodies for a suspension of the NFF until the next FIFA Congress due to take place on 28 and 29 May 2015,” it further warned.
Valcke insisted that the activities of those parading themselves as factional NFF board members clearly shows that interference has not ceased in the administration of Nigerian football.
It also warned of the dire effects a suspension could have on Nigerian football. FIFA said that It would for instance mean that no team from Nigeria of any sort (including club teams) could have any international sporting contact (art. 14 par. 3 of the FIFA Statutes).
But it would also mean that neither the NFF nor any of its members or officials could benefit from any development programmes, courses or training from FIFA or CAF any longer.