Football

Published: Saturday July 19, 2014 MYT 1:38:48 AM
Updated: Saturday July 19, 2014 MYT 1:38:48 AM

FIFA lifts Nigeria suspension

(Reuters) - Nigeria's suspension from international football was lifted on Friday, world governing body FIFA said.

The African country was banned earlier this month due to government interference in the national federation's affairs.

"FIFA has noted that the court proceedings and order preventing the president of the NFF, the NFF Executive Committee members and the NFF Congress from running the affairs of Nigerian football that prompted the suspension have been withdrawn," a FIFA statement said.

"As statutory order has been reinstated at the NFF and the legitimate bodies reinstalled, FIFA has decided to lift the suspension as of today..."

Nigeria’s reinstatement comes after a reversal of the decision to oust senior members of the country’s football federation (NFF) following allegations of corruption.

A regional high court had ordered the dismissal of the NFF executive two weeks ago, a day after the Super Eagles were eliminated from the World Cup by France in the last-16.

The court also mandated the sports minister to appoint a caretaker administrator, who swiftly called new elections. NFF president Aminu Maigari was also detained by police on his arrival back from Brazil, but later released.

Following discussions between a Nigerian government delegation and FIFA, the court order has been revoked and the executive returned to their positions.

Nigeria will now be able to send a team to the Under-20 Women's World Cup in Canada starting on Aug. 5, while their CAF Under-17 Championship qualifier against Rwanda set for this weekend had already been shifted to July 27.

African governments for decades dictated the leadership of their individual football associations until the practice was outlawed by FIFA.

Drastic changes like those in Nigeria are now rare, although fellow World Cup finalists Cameroon were suspended by FIFA last year before being reinstated.

Their federation is now being run by a ‘normalisation committee’ after the last president was jailed for fraud.

(Reporting by Nick Said in Cape Town; editing by Toby Davis)

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