BERLIN (Reuters) – Nigeria and Ghana could face international football bans this month over political interference with their football associations, world soccer’s governing body FIFA said on Tuesday in a final warning to the two African nations.
FIFA said the Nigerian federation (NFF) must be led by its elected president, voted in back in 2014, and its executive committee amid domestic challenges to the federation leadership.
“The Bureau of the FIFA Council decided that if by Monday, 20 August 2018, at 12:00 (CET), the Nigeria Football Federation offices are not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick… the NFF will be suspended with immediate effect,” FIFA said in a statement.
“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.”
FIFA said any ban would not affect the Nigerian team currently competing in the women’s Under-20 World Cup in France as the tournament was already under way. Nigeria also took part in the men’s World Cup in Russia in June.
Ghana will also be banned this month if an order to liquidate its FA is not withdrawn.
“The Bureau of the Council considers that the petition introduced by the Attorney General to the High Court of Justice to start the liquidation process of the GFA constitutes undue influence in the affairs of the GFA in contravention of art. 14 par. 1 i) and art. 19 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes,” FIFA said.
“Under these circumstances, the Bureau decided that if the petition to start the liquidation process of the GFA is not withdrawn by Monday, 27 August 2018 at 12:00 (CET), the GFA will be suspended with immediate effect. The suspension would be lifted only once the above-mentioned petition is withdrawn and FIFA is given written proof thereof.”
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Clare Fallon)