Fifa lift Nigeria suspension for now
Published 08/10/2010 | 16:25
Nigeria's suspension from Fifa competitions has been provisionally lifted pending a further court hearing on October 25.
The world governing body announced on Monday that it had suspended the Nigerian Football Federation due to government interference. Fifa had become frustrated with events in the African state and acted, leaving the country's national team in limbo and unable to play their African Nations Cup qualifier against Guinea on Sunday.
But they stated today that they would provisionally allow them to return "after observing that the situation had taken a positive turn in recent days", which should allow the game to go ahead.
Nigeria won their opening ANC qualifier 2-0 against Madagascar.
Fifa have constantly warned Nigeria's government not to interfere in football affairs in the wake of a poor World Cup campaign.
The west Africans were knocked out in the first round in South Africa, prompting the country's president, Goodluck Jonathan, to suspend the team.
That matter has since been partly resolved, but Fifa said in their statement at the start of this week that the ban followed a bid by Nigeria's Minister of Sports to have the domestic league start without relegation from the previous season.
The statement added that "court actions against elected members of the NFF executive committee preventing them from exercising their functions and duties" were also to blame, while also citing a decision by the Sports Commission to force the association's secretary-general Musa Amadu to stand down from his position as another reason.
Since then though, Fifa have been encouraged by developments including: "The claimant at the origin of the court actions publicly committing itself to withdrawing its claim, the acting General Secretary of the NFF returning to his post on 5 October 2010 and the issue of the Nigeria League being left totally within the ambit of the NFF."
Their statement continued: "The suspension has been lifted provisionally until 26 October 2010, after noting that the next hearing before the court is scheduled for 25 October 2010 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."