Fear of FIFA: Nigeria Rescinds Plan to Withdraw From International Soccer Competitions

Only hours ahead of the FIFA threat to send Nigeria to the soccer freezer, President Goodluck Jonathan today rescinded his widely-criticized decision to suspend Nigeria from international soccer for two years on account of the poor performance of the national team at the 21010 World Cup. The World Cup was seen as the trigger for the decision, but Saharareporters investigations have revealed that the decision was actually aimed at breaking the back of the Amos Adamu-led mafia at the Nigeria Football Federation. 
Mr. Adamu is the super-rich and notably corrupt FIFA executive who runs Nigerian football. His wide connections at the highest levels in FIFA and in the ruling elite in Nigeria have seen him holding football administration to ransom.

Mr. Adamu was recalled from South Africa a few days ago by aides to Mr. Jonathan to prevent him from using his connections at FIFA to ban Nigeria after the ill-advised decision was taken to withdraw Nigeria from all FIFA competitions for two years. FIFA then gave the Nigerian authorities 48 hours to withdraw the letter.

Earlier today, Jonathan met with Adamu and decided to change his stance.  Adamu and Jonathan became close when Jonathan superintended the Under-20 soccer competition while he was VP. The decision to rescind, which was reportedly composed and sponsored by the governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, in order for Nigeria to avoid FIFA banning it from competitions that would have seen her unable to participate in any soccer competitions until 2018!

Saharareporters sources said with the "peaceful resolution" of the standoff today, Jonathan's people will be allowed to participate and possibly take over the NFF when fresh elections are held next month, a position that would have been impossible because of Adamu’s cronies at the NFF who had  already decided on those who could participate in the elections. An extra-ordinary meeting of the NFF congress might be underway to open the way for new members to contest NFF positions.

For Adamu, it is great reprieve as he gets to retain his position on the FIFA and CAF boards, which would have been overturned had Nigeria been banned by FIFA.

The game of soccer indirectly employs over 1.5 million Nigerians and has become an avenue for talented Nigerians to make it in life even when Nigeria's notorious political elite refuse to provide formal employment for its teeming youth population. A Super Eagles player who spoke to Saharareporters said Jonathan’s reversal, if confirmed, would be a big relief as a ban against Nigeria by FIFA would have affected Nigerian players planning to play internationally.
He said that every player, regardless of skillset or talent requires the local FA letter to get an international gig. "If we are not in FIFA, no European club would accept a Nigerian player," he fumed. 
He stressed that the Nigerian government ought to know that FIFA rules are sacrosant when it comes to international soccer. "You see countries like North Korea and China, who routinely flex muscles on nuclear weapons with the US, but when it comes to FIFA they have to conform with international standards of behavior.  It is not not a territorial issue, it is common sense and I am happy that it finally prevailed,” he said.

The player advised the Jonathan government to arrest and prosecute NFF officials involved in corruption and not allow them to continue ruining Nigerian football because "most of them are agents to players looking for clubs in Europe, so they are involved in personal businesses that conflict with Nigeria's national interests."

But Nigeria may not be out of the woods yet as FIFA officials in South Africa said they might reject the impeachment of NFF officials carried out yesterday in Abuja. A FIFA source said Nigeria should wait till August and conduct free and fair elections instead of staging coups against NFF officials.

Jonathan's Office Press Statement:
President Jonathan Reviews Ban On Eagles
The Nigerian Football Federation at a meeting with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan today tendered unreserved apology to the President and the Nigerian people on the dismal performance of the country’s football team, the Super Eagles, at the World Cup appearance.
They also informed the President of their decision to disband the team, and address the numerous shortcomings evident in the management of football in Nigeria.
They assured the President of their commitment to evolving an enduring football development programme, and grow a new senior national team that will bring glory, rather than consistent embarrassment to Nigeria on the world stage.
They informed the President that as a first step, they have proceeded to put their own house in order by removing the former leadership of the NFF, and replacing it with an interim leadership.
Based on these assurances, and the appeals of well-meaning Nigerians, including former leaders, President Jonathan has decided to review the earlier two-year ban on the country from all international football competitions.
This review would enable other categories of Nigerian players participate in global football competitions, while a new senior national team is being developed.
At the meeting, the President also directed the Sports Minister to call a meeting of all relevant stakeholders to resuscitate football academicals and other talent spotting outlets to produce a new crop of footballers and other sportsmen for the country.
Special Adviser to the President,
July 5, 2010


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Jonathan's hasty decision has put Nigeria in a difficult position and created a mess that will be difficult to clean up. Who advices this man?

FIFA themselves seem to be a corrupt organization as well, if not why will they insist on only working with the Sani Lulu led NFF,even beyond the expiration of their tenure, and not recognizing Jonathan's caretaker committee? This from kickoff.com [quote].. FIFA neither recognises nor condones the decision of the Nigerian government, and will not also recognise or deal with the management committee it has put in place... it will continue to deal only with the NFF executive committee led by Sani Lulu, even beyond its tenure of August 28.[/quote]

This shows that FIFA does not really have the interest of our football at heart. We need alternative solutions.

All the talk about Nigeria being sovereign! Perhaps. But just remember this: In matters of football, FIFA is sovereign! That has just been demonstrated. The advisers of GEJ should have told him this, if he does not know. But do not worry! Our thoroughly militarised politicians think they can always ban anything with 'immediate effect', the impunity and total lack of respect for established rules and procedures with wich they treat the people and domestic issues. Thanks to FIFA for its 'About Turn'order. Quite amusing (and embarrassing) anticipating and even watching watching our president
execuing FIFA's order with military precision.

I do not think the president should be crucified for rescinding the Ban

on NFF/FOOTBAL. I no it is not good for our Image, but it has already

happened. It is a good thing that the President is humble enough to

accept that it was a mistake. Next time the President must analyze his

policies well and be sure of what exactly he wants to do, so as not to

portray Nigeria as a weak Nation in future. Those NFF cabal can be

dealt with, without the Ban, using internal means, at the disposal of

the President.That will not excuse Jonny's

illadviced DECISION. We could have handled the NFF better without

making ourselves a laughing stock ONCE AGAIN. We have the EFCC,ICPC,

police, Judicairy etc who should have investigated and sent those

thieves with Amos Adamu as ringleader to jail where they rightly belong


When last did we have a listening president? Dont blame my fellow brothers who are castigating you, the many years under the jack boot has militarized most of us.
Thank you Mr president for sticking to the main foundation of democracy which is captured in this my coinage- "The voice of the people is supreme"

@EMF...thats a Nigerian for you, majority of them speak from both sides of their mouth. In as much as i would have loved the ban to stay, im swayed because of the effect it will have on our footballers internationally. I think the President made a good call...but please people who know their onions should take over the NFF.;)

I'm shocked to note, from previous postings, that the same persons who had cried foul for Presido's banning of the NFF, expecting him to heed their cry, are now the same persons saying he is lilly-livered! Somebody should tell them that they are bigots; tribalists and "see-nothing-good-in Jonathan-Presidency" bunch of shameless Nigerians. What they are doing is an abuse of interractive telecomy. Instead of applausing him for giving a listening ear to their cry, they think to just run counter to his grain always. Go hide your face in shame... we, the readers are not moved! He is the kind of people-oriented President we want. We are not looking for strong men but interracting men.. Shame.

Jonathan you should have stood your ground.
You are the Commander-in-Chief for goodness sake!!!!!!!
You should have given in, no matter what.
There is something immoral about a leader taking a stand today and rescinding it
the very next day.
I don't understand, someone help me here!!!!

Am one of those who believes in give and take. Haven't spent millions on our football and getting less, what do we expect our President to do?
The NFF should be go and new one come on board. We should equally look at our local league for good and hungry players.

I submitt


This Jonathan is one hell of a wimp! You took a decision applauded by your compatriots, then a football body in far-away Zurich shouted you down and you reversed yourself! To please who? Is Sepp Blatter now the “Governor General” of Nigeria? So what, if Nigeria is expelled from FIFA and its international competitions forever? Is it FIFA that pays for the running of sports in Nigeria? Was it FIFA that paid for the jamboree to South Africa? Does Jonathan have advisers at all? Does he seek advice anyway? Dis man wahala don too much o jare. How long will Gen Danjuma stay with this jelly-man? Now, GJ is finished. This man is in bondage; he sure needs deliverance. As for Niboro, he's doing the "segun adeniyi show": justifying rubbish as if he's talking to pre-school kids!

Our president is a good strategist. He has achieved the objective of NFF self cleansing with this well thought out decision. Strike and produce positive action. Bravo presido. The rot in NFF must be competely cleaned up for fresh start. All loopholes for lootings should be plugged, and all those involved in the lootings must be brought to book for a lesson to the incoming people. Thank you president for listening to your people. It is very refreshing coming from do-nothing Yaradua and draconian Obj. FIFA is equally corrupt and Adamu and Lulu have been sharing the lootings with them: this is why FIFA is protecting these thieves. Nigeria must resist any attempt by FIFA to rubbish our football by protecting these rogues. God bless Nigeria.

Some of the responses posted here show why Nigeria is in such a mess...
I would like to make some points for those who are enlightened enough to understand:
The initial banning of Nigeria from all FIFA organised events was a needed jolt to football administarion in Nigeria. The President was of course aware that it would not last that much.
With that initial ban and the subsequent review, the NFF executive and the team have been disbanded. Whoever takes over football administration will be aware that it is no longer business as usual.
We need to truly develop our grassroot football and go for age-grade FIFA competitions with a mindset to graduate the boys to senior levels and not necessarily to win at all cost!!!
Sack the expensive (for nothing) Laggerback, appoint Samson Siasia as Eagles team manager for the next 4 years and give him all the needed support!!!
That's my submission...

This reversal is not good for the image of this country, though it takes a humble man to reverse himself when a mistake has been made. But why allow the President make this sort of mistake? Whoever gave this unfortunate advise should be ready to loose his job. That is what happens in saner climes.

Baby President!

How did Jonathan arrive at the decision to ban Nigeria from FIFA? Did he not have an AGF.Why should Jonathan tread the ridiculous path of this ban before he can deal with the rot in the Glass House?

Tell any investor NOT to interfer with how his investments are managed.And when a Nation's sovereignty has to BOW to the threats of an entertainment organization like FIFA that Nation is in trouble. Untill we can take a stand on any matter before the rest of the world we will remain a YES-NATION.

Where are the statistics to show that football has united the Muslims and the Christians in this nation? To what extent has football united the North and the South? How has football contributed to our GDP?

Our leaders still do not have the courage to dare evil.We waite to see what Jonathan does with Amos Adamu and his partners in business.

@Deri, You need to be updated, you dont have proper facts. The man Amechi is doing a lot of things in the state. You must be one of the old bad wagon. You are likely a politician, this is one of the best to govern the state. I was opportuned to visit the home after about 14 years abroad, what I saw on ground was interesting.Again, please why do people regard every Ijaw man as lazy, they are not just given the opportunity but rather oppressed. But mind what you say about the ijaw as not all ijaws are hostile.

Obama will laugh at this because he thinks before talks....dummies

@Joe Igbokwe: I.

You unequivocally supported the President, when he irrationally issued the ban. Today you´re saying the man ate his words in the name of "national interest"! So, his first action was not in the national interest? Are you one of those,(I´m trying to restrain myself from using a harsh language!), who blindly follow the man-in-power, whether right or wrong?

@Joe Igbokwe: II.

By the way, are you the same Joe, who is the Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress, Lagos State? In your article, "MY SOUTH AFRICAN EXPERIENCE", you wrote among other things:

"If the white man did all these in South Africa why were the Nelson Mandelas of this world complaining?What I am saying is that God should have allowed the whites to tarry for at least more 30 years in Nigeria and we would have been better for it. Mandela survived 27 years in prison because the whiteman was a better person. He could not have survived 10 years in prison in Nigeria."
If it´s you, then, it tells us exactly the kind of person you are!!!

OC,I am not a blind follower of shaky policies initiated to score cheap political points. Just as much as I love the humility in Jonah, I will be the first animal, to criticise him should he ever derail from his promise of working to help the nation regain her lost glory. Is Jonah not being called a weakling for attempting to lift the 2yrs ban? As for Amechi, his sec to gov like late Dr. Obil Wali, was murdered in his bedroom just last week. How many school, and roads has he built or LGAs has he visited? Amaechi has not EVER, EVER done anything tangible for the state-its thievery unlimited.Not the published 419 stuff on the internet. The industrial base of the state at trans-amadi is as dead as the dodo.

This is typical Ijaw man at work. This GEJ is a shame. I had written when this man was made president, of my experiences under an Ijaw man who is actually a Catholic bishop in Ijaw land now. I had said that from my experience of that fellow, every Ijaw man is like an eel-slippery, long, neither fish nor snake! See the shame he has brought to Nigeria. What was the need for the ban initially? Why could he not really call a meeeting before coming to that decision? Can FIFA and anyone else ever take Nigeria serious in the future?

(Saharareporters sources said with the "peaceful resolution" of the standoff today, Jonathan's people will be allowed to participate and possibly take over the NFF when fresh elections are held next month, a position that would have been impossible because of Adamu’s cronies at the NFF who had already decided on those who could participate in the elections) Who are these jonathan people brother SR?

This shows GEJ can not stand by his words and is wishy washy

Oluwoledolapo must be living in a Nigeria of his types. To think that the first decision by Jonathan was a popular one is to think that Nigerians are a bunch of uninformed people. We are acutely aware of the importance of football as a foreign exchange earner, providing sucour for some of the poorest of the poor. Without the repatrated funds from foreign based footballers, some Nigerian students would drop out of college, and some elderly persons would lose their life lines. This is why banning international football and incuring a FIFA ban was seen as reckless decision by a government completely disconnected form its people. It is a huge relief that the decision has been rescinded; and it also shows that GJ is a listening and courageous leader, for it takes courage for an African big man to go back on his decision.

@Deri - this quote "Amechi has not ever done anything in the interest of his people. Its shame that GEJ, bowed his thoughts to the evil sways of a traitor like Amechi" is from you. Do you honestly believe that statement that Amechi has not ever (sic) done anything in the interest of his people? What happened to all the schools, hospitals, roads, etc, we read about that he built for 'aliens' (sorry, I meant Rivers State indigenes). I don't know him in person, but let us always speak the truth and state facts as they are, accurately. On his recommendation to GEJ to withdraw Nigerian from football, that was a dubious decision. I am also shocked that John Fashanu was amongst those that made that recommendation. Unbelievable. He has been 'corrupted' and hoodwinked into the Nigerian way of reasoning. Shame.

This is redeeming development because Nigeria not being involved in the global soccer arena, without exporting the abundant talents in football, and so on, would have been disastrous. The fault in our soccer arena is not all about the players; it is all about quota system; it is all about football administration. When you have old men parading the field instead of young, energetic, determined, and committed players in the mould of the German machine, victory is sure. Let us go back to the villages and discover raw talents that would give their all on the pitch; we will see the difference. We thank God sha!

@ Biafra kwenu..!! - Couldn't agree with you more, about your description of Deri's inconsistency and his yo-yo like character. One does not know whether he is coming or going, and yet he tries to sound his voice and 'knowledge' on every issue. He hates SR and criticises it, yet he never stops reading it and sounding his sometimes 'warped' views. If he feels the local News media accurately represent Nigerian news, then perhaps, we should kiss him goodbye for good from this forum from today. We'll 'miss' you 'Deri' much.

@Elmango Meat - Sorry, there is nothing macho about insisting on a wrong. But plain arrogance to continue on the path of perfidy. It is a sign of strength to admit that one is wrong and promptly retract or retrace one's steps. (It is unfortunate that this attribute was lost on IBB when he refused to reverse his erroneous cancellation of June 12 election). Irrational and illogical, as the original decision was, thank God GEJ has saved the country from further embarrassment and our football from death and from the depth Abacha's experiment of 1996 (which continues to haunt us) sent it. A good leader cannot afford to be emotive and make decisions, not with their head, but with their heart. I pray this will be the last of his unreasoned, dubious and rash decisions, or else, he loses my vote. His fans will also begin to rethink their support to him for 2011.

A genunine probe into the money that was allocated for the world cup.
An outcome of the report into investigation of the wasted money spent during the U-20 world cup hosted by Nigeria.
An immediate prosecution of all NFF members that has been milking Nigerian sports.
An assemblage of patrotic,sincere and commited football adminstrators to manage our sports..Football.People like Chief Adokie Amesiemeka etc.
An immediate dissolution of the present Super Eagles who have only brought shame and dishonour to Nigeria.
The appoitment of a new coach who would immediately and consciously scout for men who are determined and ready to wear our National Jersey.Stephen Keshi,Samson Siasia etc
MOST IMPORTANTLY,a genunine desire by all including the presidency to reposition our teams for exploits.

@Deri..u flip flop always..u r left right n cenre,
u hv the same illness as jonathan..u were the one
defending jonah all this while insulting SR n the
forumites here today ur tone has changed,what were
u smoking if i may ask? with people like u Nigeria
there is hope for IBB.deri read ur posts on SR n tell
urself the home truth.

Nigeria has had everything like a president maybe
itz time for deaf n dumb after jonathan...

I knew it all along. Jonathan is highly predictable. In my last comment, I indicated that the order would be reviewed. Thank God we are not banned afterall.