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July 5, 2010

Nigerian government rescinds ban

By Socernet staff

The Nigerian government has rescinded its ban of the national football team.

Nigeria will compete in international competition
GettyImagesNigeria will compete in international competition

Following Nigeria's group-stage exit at the World Cup, president Goodluck Jonathan suspended the players from international competition, risking a ban from FIFA.

After the exit, Ima Niboro, a special adviser to Jonathan, said: "Mr President has directed that Nigeria will withdraw from all international football competition for the next two years to enable Nigeria to reorganise its football. This directive became necessary following Nigeria's poor performance in the ongoing FIFA World Cup."

FIFA rules state that governments must not interfere with football teams and the Nigerian government was given until 1800 CET on Monday to overturn its decision or the country would not be allowed to compete in international competition. The French government received a similar warning after the World Cup, while Greece are among the countries to have been banned for the offence in the past.

Dr Amos Adamu, Nigeria's FIFA/CAF executive committee member, earlier said: "I want to state clearly that the FIFA statutes are clear on issues relating to its affiliates, bordering on any third-party interference, and in this case FIFA is saying that its affiliates shall be left to operate independently."

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has overhauled its leadership and apologised for the performance of the team in a bid to persuade the president to reverse his decision, and the NFF has now confirmed the decision has been taken.

A statement on the NFF's website read: "The President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on Monday graciously rescinded last Wednesday's decision to withdraw Nigerian national football teams from FIFA/CAF football competitions.

"The decision was made known at the presidential villa on Monday evening as President Jonathan hearkened to the passionate appeals of top officials of the National Sports Commission, the Nigeria Football Federation, other concerned organs of government and well-meaning Nigerians on the matter."