Nigeria and Ghana risk suspension by Fifa

The international governing body of football has issued ultimatums to the two countries over outside interference in their football associations.

Nigeria and Ghana risk suspension by Fifa

Nigeria and Ghana are both facing international suspensions by Fifa after a final notice was issued on Tuesday over outside interference in their football associations.

Both countries could be suspended from international football if they fail to comply with Fifa’s instructions by Monday.

In a statement by its Media Office, the world football governing body said that the two federations had been notified about the ‘undue interference in their affairs’ and about the potential suspension that might derive from this.

‘Two decisions of the Bureau of the Fifa Council in relation to undue influence in the affairs of the Nigeria Football Federation and the Ghana Football Association have been notified on 13 August 2018,’ reads the statement from Fifa.

Leadership crisis in Nigeria

Last month, Chris Giwa, founder of a rival faction in the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), seized control of its headquarters.

Giwa insists that he was elected NFF president in a disputed vote back in August 2014. However, Fifa recognized the victory of Amaju Pinnick as the Federation’s president.

According to Giwa, Pinnick’s election took place in contrary to laid-down regulations, reason for which he has put up a legal challenge against the Fifa-recognized NFF president, whose ruling will expire at the end of September.

Four years ago, the football’s governing body threatened to ban the country from international competitions if Giwa continued to parade himself as the NFF president.

Giwa is currently under a worldwide Fifa ban from all football activities, however, backed by the Sports Minister Solomon Dalung, he is claiming to control the NFF.

Now, Fifa has announced that the NFF headquarters must return to Pinnick by Monday or the country will be suspended from all international competition.

‘In line with art. 16 par. 1 of the Fifa Statutes, the Bureau of the Fifa Council decided that if by Monday, 20 August 2018, at 12:00 (CET), the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) offices are not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who was duly elected on 30 September 2014, the NFF will be suspended with immediate effect for contravening art. 14 par. 1 i) and art. 19, as well as art. 14 par. 1 a) of the Fifa Statutes,’ read the statement by Fifa.

‘The suspension would be lifted only once the NFF, under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, confirms that it has been given back effective control of the NFF and its offices.’

In case the west African nation is suspended, this wouldn’t affect the Super Falconets participation at the ongoing Women’s Under-20 World Cup in France, with the Nigerian team due to face Spain in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Early in July, the Nigeria Professional Football League was postponed indefinitely amid the NFF’s leadership crisis.

Corruption scandal in Ghana

Back in June, the Ghanaian government dissolved the country’s Football Association (GFA) a day after officials, including the body’s president, were shown in a documentary engaging in acts of corruption.

Sports Minister Isaac Asiama confirmed the dissolution, claiming that its officers can no longer carry themselves as FA officials.

‘When we say the FA is dissolved it means all functions, all activities are all dissolved’, he said on Ghanaian radio show Top Story.

Former GFA’s president, Kwesi Nyantakyi – who was also vice-president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and a member of the Fifa Council – was pictured taking $65,000 from an undercover reporter pretending to be a businessman from a Middle Eastern company wanting to invest in Ghanaian football.

Correspondents claim that had the fictious deal gone ahead, he could have made $4.5m from the diversion of funds.

The exposé was part of controversial undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ documentary entitled Number 12, a production that shows over 100 African football officials accepting ‘cash gifts.’

The decision to halt football does not go well with Fifa, as the governing body gave Ghana until 27 August to reverse the court order that dissolved the country’s football association.

‘In Ghana, it is noted that formal investigation proceedings are currently being carried out by the chairperson of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee against Mr Nyantakyi,’ Fifa’s statement said.

‘However, the Bureau of the Council considers that the petition introduced by the Attorney General to the High Court of Justice to start the liquidation process of the GFA constitutes undue influence in the affairs of the GFA in contravention of art. 14 par. 1 i) and art. 19 par. 1 of the Fifa Statutes.

‘Under these circumstances, the Bureau decided that if the petition to start the liquidation process of the GFA is not withdrawn by Monday, 27 August 2018 at 12:00 (CET), the GFA will be suspended with immediate effect. The suspension would be lifted only once the above-mentioned petition is withdrawn and FIFA is given written proof thereof.’