NFF IMPASSE NSC seeking answers from FIFA

NATIONAL Sport Commission (NSC) hopes a March trip to see FIFA boss Sepp Blatter will address the crisis in the country’s Football Federation.

In January, a federal high court in Abuja dissolved the football federation (NFF) and Premier League (NPL).

The court declared that only the Nigeria Football League (NFL) and the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) have the legal authority to operate.

The NFA became the NFF in 2009, but failed to register the change properly. This is why the Nigerian law is refusing to recognise the NFF as the national body governing the country’s football.

Nigeria’s Sports Commission – which is in effect its sports ministry – has now stepped in  to set up a meeting with FIFA.

“I can confirm that the Sports Commission plan to meet with the FIFA president on 15 March in Zurich to discuss this situation,” Tony Ohaeri, spokesman for the sports commission, told BBC Sport on Monday.

“There is a need to meet with FIFA to explain the situation concerning the Nigeria Football Association and the Nigeria Football Federation. The NSC representatives will travel to Switzerland for this important meeting, and  hopefully there will be a solution to the path to follow.”

Days after the initial ruling by the federal high court in Abuka, the NFF filed an appeal as well as a motion for a stay of execution of the judgement pending appeal.

On Monday, the court adjourned the hearing on the stay of execution until  April 19.

According to Akin Olujimi, counsel to the NFF, the body will continue to operate on the basis that they followed due process in filing the appeal.

“We will argue the case on April 19, but what the law says is that my clients can go about their jobs,” he explained.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles are trying to revive their flagging fortunes after their failure to qualify for this month’s African Cup of Nations.

But court cases, infighting and government interference in the administration of the NFF have overshadowed plans to revitalize football in the country.

FIFA had initially imposed a ban for what it called “government interference” in the running of Nigerian football in the wake of the national side’s early exit from the World Cup.

But it lifted the ban provisionally after some steps were taken, notably allowing the country to play a 2012 Nations Cup qualifier in Guinea.

FIFA rules prohibit any government intervention with its members.

Nigeria are currently ranked 56th by FIFA – their worst rating by the world governing body in 12 years.

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