FIFA has sanctioned Nigeria for fielding an ineligible player in a World Cup qualifier against Algeria. The match, that originally ended in a 1-1 draw, has now been overturned to a 3-0 victory for Algeria. Aside from losing the draw point, the football governing body slammed Nigeria with a fine of CHF 6,000 (GBP 4,537). FIFA’s decision will not affect the country’s qualification for the World Cup, as they had already secured a spot in Russia before the Algeria match.
For the match against Algeria on November 10, the Super Eagles lined Abdullahi Shehu, right-back, who had a one-match suspension for picking up yellow cards in two previous qualifiers.
Because of this, the match was declared to be forfeited.
“The sanction relates to the player Abdullahi Shehu failing to serve the automatic one-match suspension imposed on him as a result of receiving a caution in two separate matches of the same competition,” reads a FIFA statement.
“This sanction bears no impact on the final result of the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup since Nigeria had already qualified (and Algeria eliminated) before the match took place.”
After the sanction, Nigeria points in the qualifiers drop from 14 to 11, while Algeria moves-up from 3 to 5.
Timor-Leste also punished
FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee also sanctioned Timor-Leste for fielding a total of nine ineligible players based on nationality in the preliminary competition for the 2018 World Cup.
Timor-Leste was fined with CHF 70,000 (GBP 52,981).