Chief Chris Giwa, President, Nigeria Football Federation, has said that FIFA, the world soccer governing body, has not communicated its ban threat to the NFF.
“The alleged FIFA ban threat is a creation of the media; FIFA has not written to lodge any complaint to us. We only read all these things in the media,” Giwa told the News Agency of Nigeria in Jos.
Giwa had assumed office as NFF President following an ex-parte order issued to him by the Jos Federal High Court with a recent Supreme Court ruling asking the parties to return to the lower court.
With the apex court’s ruling, Giwa recently assumed office, replacing Amaju Pinnick, his rival in the battle for the control of Nigeria’s football body.
Pinnick represented the nation’s football leadership at the just-concluded World Soccer Tournament in Russia.
Irked by the developments in the nation’s football leadership, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, recently threatened to ban Nigeria from all FIFA-organised events, if the confusion continued.
Infantino specifically said that FIFA would not condone interference in the administration of the game, adding that the world body only recognised Pinnick as the NFF President.
Reacting to the FIFA threat, Giwa described it as a “mere fallacy orchestrated by the press”.
He said: “As I speak with you, FIFA has not made any inquiry to ascertain what could be going on here.
“Nobody has called me from FIFA to explain anything. So, I assume that if FIFA has made any statement, it may be based on hearsay because we have not been contacted.
“I did not take myself to where I am now; there was an election and there was a litigation on which the Nigerian judiciary made a pronouncement.
“I am not the judiciary. I only went there to seek for justice. So, we have a system in Nigeria. Anyone with any grievance against that system must go through the same system to ventilate his concerns.”
Giwa said that the issue was not about what anybody says because NFF, like FIFA, has a status just like the Nigerian constitution that must be respected.
On whether he has received any letter asking him to vacate the Glass House, Giwa said that he had not received such communication.
On reports that he had been banned from football activities for five years, Giwa claimed that no one had communicated such ban to him.
He said: “I don’t know of any ban. May be the letter is still on the way. But, honestly, I have not received any letter to that effect.
“I only read it in the media like you did. No more.
“The issue of ban is like a criminal slam being fused on someone; but the question is, can somebody ban you without hearing you?
“Ordinarily, one would have expected FIFA to listen to the facts of any matter before deciding on the next step. I cannot remember being asked by FIFA to explain anything on any issue.”