FIFA gives Nigeria fresh Friday deadline

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The world football governing body has extended until Friday the deadline given to the Nigeria Football Federation to set its house in order or face a lengthy ban from international football. FIFA’s latest position was made known via a letter sent to the NFF President Amaju Pinnick on Tuesday.

The letter signed by FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke read, “Dear President we acknowledge your correspondence dated October 27, 2014 with regards of the developments in the situation of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

“We take note of the order granted by the Federal High Court 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 causing great confusion among the administrative staff…

“As stated in our previous letters dated 9 September 2014 and 2 October 2014, FIFA stressed that should the electoral process and instalment of the newly elected 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.

“Under these circumstances and in order to give Nigeria 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, we would refer the case to the FIFA Emergency Committee for implementation of the suspension.”

The letter marked the fifth warning Nigeria has received since July 2014. And just before the FIFA letter was received, the Minister of Sports Dr. Tammy Danagogo held separate meetings with Pinnick and his board members and the Chris Giwa group in a bid to find lasting peace.

It was learnt that the meeting could not yield any immediate result.

Danagogo said afterwards, “I am calling on Nigerians to prevail on the factions in the NFF crisis to come to a round table and discuss the way forward. I have met with them and have told them to make peace by making sacrifices. They should withdraw the case they have in court as that is the only way we can avoid the threats of FIFA ban. I cannot stop people from going to court nor can I stop the court from hearing cases brought before it. What we advise is for matters of this nature to be taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) which is the right body to hear such cases so that we avoid the threats of FIFA ban all the time.”

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