World’s Football governing body, FIFA has turned down a proposed visit by a Nigerian delegation, led by the Minister for Sports, Solomon Dalung in a bid to discuss the ongoing leadership tussle rocking the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Nigeria are facing a race against time to avoid a worldwide ban from football after FIFA gave Nigeria until Monday, August 20, 2018 to handover the administration and offices of the Football Federation to Amaju Pinnick and his Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi.
In a bid to circumvent FIFA’s judgment, Dalung wrote to FIFA on Wednesday, August 15, through the office of the Nigerian Ambassador to Switzerland, seeking to meet with the FIFA President Gianni Infantino alongside members of his reconciliatory committee and Chris Giwa, head of the other faction.
In a swift reply to Dalung’s request, Secretary General Fatma Samoura rejected the idea while reiterating the stance of the Bureau Council of FIFA to ban Nigeria on Monday if they fail to do as requested.
“While we are aware of the seriousness and urgency of the matter, we regret to inform you that we are not in a position to respond favourably to your request for an appointment with the FIFA Ieadership. In fact, the FIFA President is indisposed during the proposed period,” stated FIFA in their response.
Those on Dalung’s proposed delegation to Zurich include; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Olusade Adesola, former NFA Chairmen, Ibrahim Galadima and Anthony Kodjo Williams, former NFF Secretary General Bolaji Ojo Oba, Amaju Pinnick, Mohammed Sanusi and Chris Giwa.
“Moreover, we would like to recall that one member of the proposed delegation, Mr Chris Giwa, is currently under a worldwide ban, in accordance with the decision of the FIFA DiscipIinary Committee dated 10 January 2017 to extend the five—year ban from taking part in any kind of footbaII-related activity imposed by the Nigeria FootbaIl Federation’s (NFF) Disciplinary Committee on 12 May 2016,” added FIFA.
The governing body also reminded the Minister that the only channel with which it relates to its member bodies is through the legitimate Football Federation and advised him not to use other means in the future.
“We would Iike to emphasise that we normally communicate with and through our member associations, in this case the NFF under its Iegitimate President Amaju Melvin Pinnick.
“Consequently, we would be grateful to have any future correspondence be routed through the NFF directly,” said FIFA.
The Nigerian government have been making efforts to ensure that Nigeria escapes the FIFA hammer and the Acting-President, Yemi Osinbajo has held meetings with the NFF President Pinnick and with the rival Chris Giwa on resolving the impasse. It remains to be seen to what effect or reason the Minister’s latest move is hinged on.