The board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), insisted yesterday that Friday’s verdict by the Supreme Court on the lingering leadership tussle between Chris Giwa and Amaju Pinnick was no threat to the country’s participation at the World Cup next June.
While reviewing the verdict from the Supreme Court last Friday that sent both Giwa and Pinnick to the lower court for retrial, the NFF board led by Pinnick said that that it had taken note of the decision of the Supreme Court to refer back to the Federal High Court, and start afresh a case brought before the apex court by two football stakeholders against the NFF leadership.
The statement from the NFF reads: “NFF 1st Vice President/Chairman, Legal Committee, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, said the NFF Board appreciated the reasoning of the apex court in refusing the prayers of the appellants, which if granted would have accorded them some kind of legitimacy, against the backdrop of an ongoing administration of Nigerian Football which is at the cusp of taking Nigeria to the world’s greatest football event, the World Cup.
“He disclosed that the NFF’s lawyers are confidently prepared to argue the case afresh and look forward to finally putting the matter to rest, and to prove to the world that Nigerian football can continue to be run in its orderly manner.
“He referred to the case as a mere distraction for Nigerian football which ought not to have been instituted in the first place given the convention for resolution of football disputes.
“The 1st Vice President said: “We are law-abiding citizens of this great country, and we have no qualms about starting the case afresh. The Supreme Court did the right thing in the circumstances, and while we must be careful not to discuss matters which are subjudice, we must note that the appellants have within the norms in sporting disputes, actually exhausted all legitimate channels in this matter, including arguing their position, and failing, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Meanwhile, the bans imposed on Chris Giwa by the world football governing body FIFA and continental body CAF remain in place.
The CAF letter conveying the world-wide ban on Giwa was dated February 6, 2017 and signed by the Deputy Secretary to the Disciplinary Committee extended the ban imposed by the Nigeria Football Federation and the Confederation of African Football to a worldwide status.
FIFA also handed down the same punishment to four other officials, who were involved in the NFF leadership tussle.
The letter read, “FIFA can confirm the worldwide extension of sanctions imposed by the Nigerian Football Federation’s (NFF) Disciplinary Committee on 12 May 2016 against the officials Christopher Giwa, Muazu Suleyman, Yahaya Adama, Sani Fema and Johnson Effiong for breaches of the NFF Statutes and the FIFA Code of Ethics.
“In accordance with art. 136 ff of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, the Chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to extend the five-year ban from taking part in any kind of football-related activity imposed on the five officials to have worldwide effect.
“The relevant member association as well as CAF have been duly notified of the chairman’s decision.”
The FIFA sanction excludes him from all football matters May 11, 2021.
Giwa was first banned by the NFF in May 2016, after they approached a civil court over the leadership tussle – an action that is against the federation’s statutes.
This five-year sanction was later extended by CAF.