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Nigerian government backs down over ban on national team
Press Association - 4 years ago

The Nigerian government has rescinded its decision to ban the national football team from all competitions, just ahead of a Fifa deadline.

Fifa had threatened to suspend and even expel the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) because of government interference, as well as withholding the $8m (£5.3m) due to the association from the World Cup.

However, the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, has changed his mind after initially imposing the sanction as punishment for the Super Eagles' disappointing tournament in South Africa.

A statement on the NFF's website said: "Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan graciously rescinded last Wednesday's decision to withdraw Nigerian national football teams from Fifa/Caf competitions.

"The decision was made known at the presidential villa 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."

The key to solving the situation appears to have been a meeting of the NFF's executive committee, which led to nine officials, including the president, Sani Lulu and vice-president, Amanze Uchegbulam, being sacked.

Fifa had earlier written to the NFF, warning that it would be suspended if the Nigerian government had not backed down by the close of business today.

The NFF was told the first effect would be World Cup prize money being withheld, and that Nigeria would be banned from next year's women's World Cup and replaced by South Africa.

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