Nigerian president suspends soccer team for 2 years

Posted Jun 30, 2010 by Christopher Szabo
Nigeria’s president has taken the drastic step of banning his country’s team from international competition for two years after their poor performance in South Africa’s World Cup.
File photo: Soccer team in action.
File photo: Soccer team in action.
Andrea Wanderer
The Guardian reports a spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, Ima Niboro, as saying:
"Mr President has directed that Nigeria will withdraw from all international football competition for the next two years to enable Nigeria to reorganise its football. This directive became necessary following the country's poor performance in the ongoing FIFA World Cup."
Jonathan, sworn in as the country’s president only last month following the death of President Umarua Yar’Adua due to illness, said he was going to be hard on any financial irregularities in the country’s soccer organising committee. Presidential spokesman Niboro said:
"If any financial misappropriation is discovered, all officials responsible will be held accountable."
Soccer’s international organising body, FIFA, said it had not yet heard officially from the Nigerian government, but said it could ban Nigeria from all international football if there is in fact political interference.
FIFA rules demand national organisers manage their affairs independently or face suspension for world soccer.
(The Guardian report did not mention whether there were any exceptions, such as North Korea, where nobody can legally be independent of government.)