FIFA temporarily lifts Nigeria suspension


FIFA credited a “positive turn” in events as the reason behind its decision on Friday to temporarily lift the suspension of Nigeria from international football.
Football’s world governing body said its emergency committee had “decided to provisionally lift the suspension of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) … after observing that the situation had taken a positive turn in recent days”.
That included “the claimant at the origin of the court actions (the government’s anti-graft agency) publicly committing itself to withdrawing its claim, the acting General Secretary of the NFF returning to his post on October 5 and the issue of the Nigeria League being left totally within the ambit of the NFF”.
FIFA said the suspension was lifted provisionally until October 26, “after noting that the next hearing before the court is scheduled for October 25 and that only then can the judge vacate the court orders”.
“However, should the NFF still be embroiled in court actions or any other issue preventing it from working freely on that date, the suspension will be automatically confirmed until all problems have been definitively solved.”
FIFA initially imposed the ban for what it called “government interference” in the running of Nigerian football.
It said the decision followed a bid by the sports minister to restart the league without relegations, pressure to oust the NFF’s acting general secretary and court action barring elected members of the federation’s executive committee.
Nigeria’s government sought to ban the national side from playing shortly after the African footballing powerhouse bowed out of the continent’s first World Cup in South Africa in the group stage with just one point.
The two-year ban was lifted on July 5 after FIFA imposed a deadline to stop political interference.
But several footballing executives were sacked and President Goodluck Jonathan also ordered an investigation into how the funds allocated for the World Cup team had been used.