Chairman of the Senate committee on sports, Senator Obinna Ogba has declared that it would be a disaster if the nation incurs the wrath of world soccer governing body, FIFA, on account of the legal battles the NFF is facing in civil courts.
Ogba who spoke yesterday said the only way the nation can be saved once and for all from the incessant FIFA threat is for the Acting president to as a matter of urgency sign the NFF bill into law.
“My appeal is for the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to sign the NFF bill into law. Once that bill is signed into law, it would save us a lot of trouble. There is a provision in the bill for those in ordinary court now to go to the sports court of arbitration to seek redress. FIFA frowns at people going to ordinary court. We freely signed to be a member of FIFA and genuine stakeholders should learn to respect FIFA rules in the interest of the country. We can’t afford to go the way of Sudan that had just been hammered by FIFA. Sudan’s World Cup hopes have been frittered away, just like that of their clubs in continental football. Nigeria is too big to go the way of Sudan and given the role football play in bonding the country together, it is not a sector we should toy with. Football is the first love of every Nigerian. The game brings us together as a people and I know even those that run our judiciary know that much and would put the nation’s interest first even when stakeholders carry their fight to them.”
It would be noted that FIFA last week banned Sudan and Guinea from all football activities following alleged government interference in the running of their football. The same fate may befall Nigeria if the renewed court battle over the leadership of Nigerian football is allowed to affect the administration of the game in the country.
Last Monday, the nation’s apex court, the Supreme Court gave the NFF, led by Amaju Pinnick and Chris Giwa who is laying claim to the NFF presidency notice to await further directives on when it would deliver judgment on the suit between both parties.