FIFA ban on Nigeria looms today as government refuses to reinstate NFF President Maigari
Nigeria will be banned from global football by the end of today if Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Aminu Maigari and his executive committee are not reinstated by the end of today.
World governing body FIFA will slap an indefinite ban on the West African country for government interference in the sport after an illegal coup was carried out over the weekend to remove Maigari.
This means Nigeria’s U17 and U20 male teams will be unable to play in their African qualifiers while the female U20 national team will be unable to play at the World Cup in Canada next month.
The Super Eagles will also be unable to play in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in September if Maigari is not reinstated. Adidas has already pulled out of their kit sponsorship of Nigeria.
A weekend meeting of football and government officials in Abuja endorsed the earlier sacking of Maigari and his executive committee for not solving a player payment dispute during the World Cup.
The NFF is now being led by an official appointed by the sports minister.
World body FIFA, which doesn’t allow governments to interfere in football affairs, said it would not recognize Saturday’s meeting and has given Nigeria until Tuesday to reinstate Maigari or face sanctions.
That would likely involve banning the country’s national team and clubs from playing in continental or international tournaments.
Despite the threat, government officials are not backing down after sacking their entire national football federation leadership, ignoring a FIFA directive and risking a ban from internationals for the reigning African champion.
That could leave players like Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel and Liverpool’s Victor Moses frozen out of next year’s African Cup in Morocco, where Nigeria is due to defend its title.
Maigari was also arrested on his return from the World Cup in Brazil.
Delegates at the emergency meeting said they blamed him for embarrassing Nigeria at the tournament by not resolving the bonus dispute.
Nigeria reached the second round for the first time since 1998 but had its campaign marred by the payment dispute, where players rebelled against the federation after not receiving their money for making the last 16 of the showcase.
Fifa rules protect its members from government interference, and a suspension bars teams and officials from taking part in international matches and meetings.