By Clarkson Ogo
Out-going President of the Nigeria Football Federation and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick at the weekend warned that incorrigible violators of the FIFA –approved NFF Statutes risk several sanctions, which could include and may not be limited to outright ban from participation in the beautiful game.
Pinnick, who is also a Member of the CAF Executive Committee, made this statement in the light of further threats by certain forces within the football ecosystem to drag Nigeria Football to court for nothing more than peaceful conduct of the 77th Annual General Assembly that took place in Lagos on Thursday.
“I want to say that enough is enough. We have tolerated these individuals for much longer than necessary. I am leaving the position of NFF Presidency in a few weeks but I am still a Member of the FIFA Council and I can talk about Nigeria Football anywhere. It is time to call the bluff of these persons. Their actions not only malign and defame the NFF; these also de-market the NFF to a certain degree.
“If the NFF holds a General Assembly, they go to court. If the NFF does not hold, they go to court. Every single day, they want to go to court. It is their right, but it is also the right of the NFF to curtail such excesses. FIFA clearly stipulates that football matters are not meant for civil courts, and further infractions by anyone would be met with the stiffest of sanctions, including but not limited to outright ban from the game.”
Article 69 (1) of the NFF Statutes 2010 stipulates: “NFF, its members, players, officials and match and player’s agents will not take any dispute to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in these Statutes and FIFA regulations. Any disagreement shall be submitted to the jurisdiction of FIFA, CAF, WAFU or NFF.
(2) NFF shall have jurisdiction on internal national disputes i.e, disputes between parties belonging to NFF. FIFA shall have jurisdiction on international disputes, i.e, disputes between parties belonging to different Associations and/or Confederations.”
It would be recalled that the 77th Annual General Assembly of the NFF was delayed for eight months because some persons went to court to secure an ex parte injunction, stopping the event from holding as scheduled on 17th December 2021.