Football matters not for civil courts, Pinnick warns

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

  • *Nigeria risks FIFA ban
  • •Back to trenches if – PFAN

President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Melvin Pinnick, has warned stakeholders that the world soccer governing body abhors taking related matters to civil courts.

A Member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee said the country risks FIFA ban should forces continue to insist on dragging the national federation to court over the amendment of tatutes.
His caution is a response to the spate of agitations and appeals by concerned stakeholders, ex-internationals and the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to the federation to amend the NFF Statutes to include all relevant stakeholders for the development of Nigerian football.
“I want to say that enough is enough. We have tolerated these individuals for much longer than necessary,” Pinnick roared.
“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,” the NFF President continued.
“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,” he added.
Recall that on June 17, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the NFF to commence processes to amend the NFF Statutes in a bid to include more relevant stakeholders that were hitherto disenfranchised from previous elective congresses.
On Thursday, the NFF held the 77th Annual General Assembly in Lagos State where all the modalities to hold the September Elective Congress that will usher new football administrators into the Glass House were set.
Although there happens to be a headway to the September elective congress after several hitches, including an ex parte order by the Federal Highcourt in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State that barred the NFF from holding the 77th Annual General Assembly, stakeholders are calling on the nation’s football governing body to amend the NFF Statutes.
Furthermore, Pinnick cited the NFF Statutes to assert his position regarding litigations against the nation’s football body.
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.”
Meanwhile, the Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN), on Saturday, accused the NFF of tactically denying the representatives of the association from participating in the 77th Annual General Assembly.
Harrison Jalla, who heads the task force constituted by PFAN, with other representatives to forge its position regarding the election to usher in new executives, were denied access to present their position.
He noted that the association is paying keen interest as development unfolds, adding that Nigeria football is bound for doom should the local government and state football associations fail to conduct their elections that would produce a new breed of electorates for the NFF election.
“They can return to the trenches if the issue of not holding new Local Government Football Council and State Football Association elections before the general elections is not dealt with first, to produce a brand-new electorate that will elect a brand-new leadership,” he said.
Jalla, adding that players are an indispensable entity in the current five constituent members of the congress, reiterated that they are waiting and watching patiently as the event unfolds.
Recently, the FIFA banned the All Indian Football Association (AIFF) over “undue influence from third parties” into issues surrounding the football association “which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes.”
According to FIFA, who divulged that they are constantly in touch with India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to fashion out a remedy, stated that the Asian country can no longer host the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in October until the ban is lifted.
Consequently, should NFF and shareholders not manage the issues surrounding the elective congress and amendment of NFF Statutes properly, which has close similarity with India’s, the nation risk FIFA’s venomous wrath.

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