Again, Nigeria escapes FIFA suspension


African Nations Cup champion Nigeria has escaped suspension from international football for the second time in two months.

Football’s governing body FIFA said on Monday the threat was lifted after a court case against the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) elections held on Sept. 30 was withdrawn.

The dropping of the case paved the way for FIFA-backed NFF President Amaju Pinnick and his executive to resume their duties after they were ousted by an interim ruling last Thursday by Justice Ambrose Allagoa who placed Chris Giwa in charge.

Judge Allagoa said the electoral congress that brought Pinnick to power was invalid but that ruling was no longer being supported by Giwa.

“FIFA has today sent a letter to the NFF in which it takes note the order granted by the Federal High Court, nullifying the NFF elections of Sept. 30, was definitely withdrawn and that the board is able to carry out its activities without any hindrance,” FIFA announced in a statement.

“We understand these events occurred before midday on Oct. 31 (the deadline). Consequently the case will not be referred to the FIFA emergency committee for implementation of the suspension of the NFF.

“However, FIFA will continue to closely monitor the situation in Nigeria.”

The governing body had threatened Nigeria with a ban of at least seven months if the case was not dropped.

The decision means the team, if it qualifies, can defend its Nations Cup title in January.

Nigeria, who is third in Group A, visits Congo on November 15 and host South Africa four days later in their final two qualifiers.

The NFF was briefly suspended by FIFA in July and narrowly escaped a fresh ban in September over the legal quagmire involving the federation’s elections.