FIFA issues governance ultimatums to Ghana, Nigeria

The Bureau of the ruling Fifa Council has set a deadline of August 20 for the Nigeria Football Federation offices to be handed back to what it recognises as the legitimate NFF executive committee under president Amaju Pinnick, who was elected in September 2014.

The NFF headquarters were seized last month while Pinnick was attending the World Cup in Russia by a group claiming that a court order gave them control over the federation.

Ghanaian football is currently in crisis after the Ghana Football Association (GFA) was dissolved by the country’s government in June following revelations of “widespread” corruption that implicates president Kwesi Nyantakyi, one of the most senior figures in African football and a member of the Fifa Council.

The Ghanaian government took action in the wake of an undercover documentary made by local investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and the BBC Africa division of the UK public-service broadcaster.

The documentary claimed that Nyantakyi, who is also first vice-president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), took $65,000 (€54,000) from undercover reporters posing as businessmen to secure favour with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo and other senior government officials, in the hope of landing favourable business deals.

Formal investigation proceedings are currently being carried out by the chairperson of the investigatory chamber of the Fifa Ethics Committee against Nyantakyi, who has been provisionally suspended. However, the Bureau of the Council considers that the liquidation process of the GFA constitutes undue political influence in the affairs of the federation.

Under these circumstances, the Bureau will suspend the GFA if the petition to start the liquidation process is not withdrawn by August 27.

Fifa noted that if the suspension of the NFF takes effect, the Nigerian team currently competing in the U-20 Women’s World Cup in France will still be allowed to participate on an exceptional basis given that the tournament is underway.

However, suspensions of either federation would lead to the removal of the national team from the qualifying competition for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, which is set to resume next month.

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