Nigeria and Ghana To Fulfill FIFA Ultimatums or Face Ban from Global Football

Nigeria and Ghana are both facing international suspensions from FIFA after a final warning was issued on 14 August to the African nations over “undue influence” in the affairs of their governing bodies.

According to FIFA, Nigeria’s ban could be immediate if the Nigeria Football Federation “offices are not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under president Amaju Pinnick.” With NFF president Amaju Pinnick in Russia for the World Cup, the building was taken over last month by a group claiming a Nigerian court order had given them control of the federation.

The suspension will prevent all Nigerian national teams from taking part in international competitions, with an exception for the Nigerian women’s under-20 team, which will be allowed to complete their participation at the World Cup in France. The Super Falconets are set to play Spain in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

The issues in Nigeria come after a recent court case recognised Chris Giwa, who is currently serving five-year ban by FIFA for breaching NFF statutes and the FIFA code of ethics, as well as for “impersonation and taking football matters to a civil court.” Giwa has been protesting the result of elections held in September 2014 that saw Pinnick installed as NFF president.

The NFF are due to hold polls on 20 September as Pinnick’s four-year term is coming to an end.

Andre Ayew of Ghana, centre, leads Ghana goal celebration after his brother Jordan Ayew (not in picture) scored against DR Congo during the 2017 African Cup of Nations. Photo: Gavin Barker / EPA

In the case of Ghana, the country has until 27 August to stop the process of liquidation of the Ghana Football Association. Ghana must withdraw a high court petition by the attorney general to have the football association “liquidated” or be banned. In a statement signed by FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura, Ghana’s case “constituted an undue influence in the affairs of the GFA in contravention of FIFA statutes.”

The petition brought to the court came after an undercover documentary by controversial Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremayaw Anas, which captured GFA president and FIFA Council Member Kwesi Nyantakyi accepting a cash gift of $65,000 from undercover journalists. FIFA, suspended Nyantakyi for 90 days on 8 June but Nyantakyi resigned from his posts as GFA president and from the posts he held with Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

“If the petition to start the liquidation process of the GFA is not withdrawn by Monday 27 August 2018 at 11:00 GMT, the GFA will be suspended with immediate effect,” the statement reads.

If banned, Nigeria’s senior men’s team wouldn’t be able to participate in qualifying for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, which continues next month. Ghana is also in danger of being excluded when African Cup of Nations qualifying returns next month.

Ghana, which is in first place in its qualifying group, is due to play Kenya on 8 September. Nigeria is scheduled to face Seychelles on the same day.