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Only hours ahead of the FIFA threat to send Nigeria to the soccer freezer, President Goodluck Jonathan today rescinded his widely-criticized decision to suspend Nigeria from international soccer for two years on account of the poor performance of the national team at the 21010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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well,this is a good start.our president has shown maturity in handling the football mess. nigerians should give our leader chance to succeed not castigating every movement he made.Goodluck thank u for listening to meaningful advice we wish u happy stay and pray for your success in the coming election.

Sad, very sad indeed that, Goodluck Jonathan allowed himself to be deceived by somebody like Rotimi Amechi and the IBB and Buhari fan club here. 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. Again how do we know that, this is not a politically motivated piece since the allegation here is that, the 2yrs ban by GEJ ,was aimed at installing his tribes men in NFA or the illegal NFF according to SR. What a mess. And SR, such unfounded claims does not do yr site any good. It sounds more like the voices of Nzeribes ABN vrs IBBs internet WARRIORS, and the silent fingure of Buhari at play here. Adamu lobbied FIFA against his adopted country. That is the meat of the gist-and GEJ said yes-in the name of his tribesmen-that is Nigerian politics 4 u

@oluwoledolapo- SR started well and is still doing very well today. I wish all newspapers, radio stations and TV stations in Nigeria could emulate SR. SR is the best. Go check out their stories in the last two weeks and come back and tell me what could be better. Nigerians are the only people I know who punish organizations like SR for standing up for the truth always.

FIFA can go to hell; FIFA is stupid; FIFA sucks; Carry go Jonathan; etc. I guess a lot of folks are quietly licking their wounds as GEJ disappointed them with this U turn. There is no point in rubbing salt inside your wounds. Some of us knew the hasty decision would not stand the test of time and could come back to haunt GEJ in 2011 when he decides to launch his presidential bid. Well done GEJ. A sign of maturity is to ignore sycophants, eat the humble pie and never be afraid to admit and correct your mistakes.

Who can ever take this President serious again. I guess it is a bitter lesson for Goodluck; that people in positions of Authority must be very careful that they reign in their flippant tongue as words spoken cannot be 'swallowed' back!

Goodluck you should be 'man' enough to stand by your word. What a disappointment, what a joke for such a pathetic and wimpy response. This is where Buhari, Murtala or Idiagbon would have said 'to blazes we are are a sovereign country.'

What a wimpy response. When money talks even the President of a country cannot withstand it!

I hate to sound like SR's megaphone but again, they've scored another hat-trick here. I can't wait to hear from all the ranters who were saying SR would "lose relevance" because they released the satanic letter written to FIFA by Jonathan and his people. Okay, if that letter wasn't satanic why reverse it so quickly?
As I love to tell the naysayers, SR has all it takes to beat CNN to any story, they've done it too many time already.
And now to the Jonathan-Must-Damn-FIFA-crowd, I say sorry oh, your man has chickened out while SR stood its grounds and won, yet again!

We are in a downward spiral. we are nailing our own coffin each day. A complete overhaul of NFA/NFF is the route we could have taken. Unabated corruption will never allow anything develop in Nigeria including soccer. People, be rady for more disgrace and get your high blood pressure medication nearby...or stop watching Nigerian matches...to avoid unnecessary heartbreaks.

Readers should read and understand this report posted by SR before making comments. GEJ has made the right decision of re-evaluating his initial plan and its implication on football and potential young footballers in the years to come,just imagine the implication on our youth, if no U16, U21, Super Chickens (oops Eagles), women competition. He has exemplified a good quality of a leader by rethinking and reconsidering the effect in light of new information. GEJ made the right decision to rescind and work within the rule of law as laid down by FIFA to sanitze the NFF/NFA. Don't let us panic, Mr Adamu's days are numbered!!

I support the ban totally if that is what will make us to PREPARE for everything we do in this country.Secondary I want the congenital rogues in the Football House to be shown the way out so that we can begin the process of rebuilding our football- the only source of happiness to Nigerians.But if today the President has changed his position I guess he did so in the National interest and in the interest of millions of soccer lovers in Nigeria.However my honest thinking is that we need drastic and unusual measures to deal with the challanges facing this country.Using kids gloves in our approach will not help us.

A nation of a leader with no sense of history will die. But a leader who cannot see tomorrow will perish with the nation.How come some of us saw the multiple ends of all this movie from the beginning.Simple it was, even Sarkozy saw it too.

Jonathan should learn to vehemently resist unpopular inimical advice from jokers if he must maintain his reputations.Rotimi Ameachi should account for the 900million given to him as the chairman of the presidential task force or risk impeachment.

Sahara Reporters started very well but has now developed into a junk web magazine. Most of your news now is really really junk. You should either change and stop behaving like juveniles or shut down your site.
You seem to be disconnected with Nigerians on this issue. Most Nigerians are happy with the decision first taken by GJ because of all those thieves administering football and the useless players like Yakubu who prefer their clubs to their country. You guys should become more civil and matured without compromising the truth.

Does anyone here seriously believed Jonathan when he made that silly announcement? One needed not be a seer to figure out that Jonathan’s knee-jerk decision to ‘ban’ Nigeria from all Fifa-organised tournaments was timed by the Presidency to distract attention from the embarrassing allegation that the Presidency was in possession of EFCC investigated case against Jonathan’s yummy, Bank-Ole.
How come Jonathan decided to "ban" the Nigerian national team at the height of the revelation that the Presidency was in possession of EFCC file against Bank-Ole?

These politicians know that an average Nigerian remembers nothing and forgets nothing; hence, they bring up irreverent issues whenever they or one of their own is in trouble just to keep talking heads like those that populate this site busy blowing hot air.

When the president banned nigeria i wrote here on sahara reporters web site that the action shows jonathan as a political neophite and i concluded that he would sooner than later eat his words needless recounting the myriad of reasons i adduced to my prediction suffice is that my word has come to pass.

the move has already achieved its objective which was to get rid of Sani Lulu. Without this move Sani Lulu was running home dry on re-election. I don't think there is any need to regret this move by the President. It was a good move which already achieved its aim.

The president should do his homework very well before coming out to make any pronouncement. I does not speak well of him to "make and unmake" within 48 hours.

UMYA is really a role model of Jonathan

Policy reversal era is here.


Again, that was obvious! So, why ridicule the office of the Presidency for nothing? Now, no one will take the Nigerian President seriously, saying one thing and eating his words a few days later! That´s belittling us. A quick perusal of the FIFA rules and regulations should have made it clear, that he couldn´t take such a decision. What does that tell us?

I said it before: if this guy, despite his PhD, is not able to make an intelligent decision on a relatively trivial issue like football, how can he tackle the really big issues that confront us? What about the tons of advisers around him? There could have been better ways to deal with Adamu and his group of NFF-gangsters. When will he take on Babangida & Co.?


The intention of the President in "banning the country from participating in any international competition" is well appreciated by majority of of Nigerians but the execution is void of finesse by the Presidential advisers. One, they should not make the President do or say something he will later rescind. There was no need for the official announcement of the ban, rather the Presidency would have given the NFF strict conditions that must be fufilled before they can get any government patronage henceforth,at most Government can suspend its financial largasees to the federation and even announce that. As a private organization, i believe they are subject to taxation and strict scrutiny by the tax authorities.

@ Igwe, I laffed. ill advised decision from an ill prepared President. Yakubu is about 51 years old, I believe he still has about 4 more before he can retire. We still have some players.

we must take small strategic steps with detailed goals to improve our football. Nigerians, lets think in terms strategies and not tearing down institutions. lets have a plan, a benchmark and a way to measure those plans..lets use series of games in the next 2 years to measure our plans and weigh our strategies. football development involves a long term vision and planning..lets start from secondary schools, soccer academies..creating enabling environment for multinational corporations to sponsor our football league.football is not about winning sometimes, it is about creating hope, creating opportunities, sharing, networking and building relationships, fighting poverty, discrimination and racism. it is about unity and togetherness. about actualizing hopes and dreams of our youths,it is about money and about healing...we lost in SA we are humbled but by the grace of almighty we will win again.

Politics, Politics, Politics.

what else do you expect,,,
GEJ initial gra gra

This event has diminished Goodluck IMO. I am inclined to think that he also takes such jaundiced decisions in the very important matters of state. You do not ridicule a whole country in the eyes of the international community just to get rid of a cabal or dont we have corruption agencies in the country to deal with them any more?

Goodluck i snot as bright or as smart as I thought

the good part of the world is more intelligent with wisdom than a tiny part of it called nigeria.the portion that has light in the world has been made by God to overwhelm the dark portion on earth even before man, and the principle still remains. it is to tell us that the world watches nigeria and where it can help the world with minding that she knows what to do as to better the living situtation of its subjects without being a giant lie throuch restructuring.


So the decision to withdraw for 2 years was actually a gimmick, a power play so GJ could put his own people in charge of nff? And if adamu smugly perpetrates himself in his position, what then has changed? What about the probe/audit of nff, has that been suspended too?
Am really disappointed about GJ's faux-pas in recent times.

Dis na government of abracadabra, the more you look na little you go dey see. Where dem go see footballers go do all the competition wey caf and fifa organise? Because we nor get footballers again all the youth don turn to armed robbers, killers and kidnappers. The few wey remain dey pretend to be musicians and igbo smokers. Naija, who go save you?