Nigerian president reverses ban on national team

July 6, 2010

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has reversed his decision to ban the national football team from international competition for two years after their poor performance at this summer’s FIFA World Cup.

FIFA had given the Nigerian Government a deadline of 1700 BST yesterday afternoon to lift the ban or face a larger punishment, as under FIFA rules, any government interference on member associations is strictly prohibited.

The presidency said in a statement: “The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) 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.

“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 competition.”

On Sunday, two of the NFF’s top officials were sacked in an effort to appease the president.