Nigeria escapes FIFA hammer, recognise Amaju Pinnick as NFF boss

The football governing body will no longer clamp down on the country after the Federal Government declared its acknowledgement of Pinnick’s led board

Nigeria have avoided an impending Fifa ban by accepting Amaju Pinnick as Nigeria Football Federation’s substantive boss.

There has been a power tussle in the NFF since September 30, 2014 when Pinnick was declared the winner of the presidential election – with Chris Giwa launching a counter claim.

The wrangle is the reason why the Nigeria Professional Football League – which was expected to restart after the 2018 Fifa World Cup – has been put on hold.

And on August 14, 2018 Fifa ordered that ‘legitimate’ Pinnick be confirmed as substantive head of the country’s governing body, or be banned from all footballing activities.

“In line with art. 16 par. 1 of the Fifa Statutes, the Bureau of the Fifa Council decided that if by Monday, 20 August 2018, at 12:00 (CET), the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) offices are not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who was duly elected on 30 September 2014, the NFF will be suspended with immediate effect for contravening art. 14 par. 1 i) and art. 19, as well as art. 14 par. 1 a) of the Fifa Statutes,” a statement from Fifa read.

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“The suspension would be lifted only once the NFF, under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, confirms that it has been given back effective control of the NFF and its offices.”

And on Monday,  Mr Laolu Akande, Special Assistant to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the federal government had already informed Fifa of the decision to accept the Pinnick-led board.

“The FG has already conveyed to Fifa its firm position recognizing Amaju Pinnick-led NFF as the current & only NFF Exco. Govt will also continue to work with all relevant stakeholders involved to resolve dispute in a timely manner. FG is upholding NFF treaty obligations to Fifa,” he tweeted.

This development comes as a big reprieve to the country as they prepare for the all-important Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles on September 7.

The Super Eagles are third in Group E with no points and must defeat the Pirates before their fans to relaunch their bid to qualify for Cameroon 2019.

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