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May 3, 2010

Nigeria left with bill for hotel switch

By Soccernet staff

The Nigerian national team have rejected their base hotel in Durban because it has not been finished yet and have been forced to pay a fee of $250,000 in order to change their plans.

New Hampshire Hotel
GettyImagesNigeria have opted against using the New Hampshire Hotel.

Nigerian officials met with the FIFA accommodation office and the World Cup local organising committee over the use of the New Hampshire Hotel after Sports Minister Ibrahim Issah Bio had expressed concern over security and the hotel's proximity to the main road, saying: "I am concerned about the noise and unsure of the security of this place. We cannot toy with the safety of our players who are ambassadors of our great country."

The Nigerian delegation eventually settled for the Richards Bay Hotel but have been left with the bill for the Super Eagles' stay in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup on the request of new coach Lars Lagerback.

Bio has now been assured that the federal government is ready to pick the extra fees for the hotel, which will now serve as the team's training site and base camp during the World Cup. He said: "We are satisfied with the hotel, I think it suits our needs. The government will help out with bills as we look forward to a favourable World Cup in South Africa."

National police commissioner Gen Bheki Cele told The Times that the concerns about the hotel had nothing to do with the team's security but with their "occupational safety".

"What [the Nigerian Football Association] is talking about is occupational safety, and not safety and security. It's true that the hotel is not finished yet; that is why, at the moment, they are staying up in Richards Bay - they are finalising things [at the hotel]," he said.

However, the Richards Bay Hotel is a two-hour drive from Nigeria's match venue in Durban, and the FIFA Regulations on team accommodation state that teams' base camps must be within 45 minutes drive from their match venue.

Reports suggest that FIFA and the Nigerian FA are working on a solution.