NFF: To Obey S’Court Or FIFA Arbitration Court
Supreme Court had on April 27 this year asked the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to return to the Federal High Court sitting in Jos, for the expeditious hearing of the suit seeking to remove the BED executives. A five-man panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, unanimously set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Jos, which had held that the case could no longer be relisted before the Federal High Court having been earlier withdrawn by the appellants.
Although the Supreme Court upheld the appellants’ contention that they could have the case re-listed before the Federal High Court after their settlement talks broke down, it rejected the plea by the appellants to have the case heard and determined on its merit.
The apex court held that the conditions that could warrant hearing such case which ought to be heard by the Federal High Court had not been met.
The appellants, Yahaya Adama and Obinna Ogba, who had claimed that they and others were the authentic NFF executive committee members said to have been elected on August 26, 2014. But following the directive of the minister of sport,Solomon Dalung’s directive to NFF to comply with the court order, Amaju Picknic has argued that the FIFA Arbitration Court has earlier given contrary order.
According to a statement signed by Pinnick’’s layer, Festus Keyamo (SAN), on Monday, he said the Minister’s order was null and void.
“Whilist our clients respect the sanctity of court orders, unfortunately the said court orders are not binding on FIFA, the World Football Governing Body.
“ The NFF is an affiliate of FIFA. It should be noted that FIFA has consistently maintained that this same matter has been taken to the highest Court of Sports Arbitration in Switzerland by these same individuals and they have lost.
“FIFA is only bound by the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sports AND DOES NOT ENTERTAIN OR TOLERATE decisions by local courts in footballing nations worldwide. “Hence, FIFA has since upheld the decision of the Court of Arbitration on this matter and recognized the NFF Board led by Amaju Pinnick. Nigeria has a duty to comply with that decision.
In addition, for the indiscretion of those individuals like Chris Giwa to approach the local courts, FIFA has since imposed a worldwide ban on them from all footballing activities.
“The end result is that Chris Giwa and his so-called Board members do not have any locus standi with regards to footballing matters and the Federal Government CANNOT have any dealing with them on any footballing matter.
“The obvious implication of all these is that if any attempt is made to recognize Chris Giwa and derecognize Amaju Pinnick and his Board, FIFA WILL DEFINITELY IMPOSE A LENGTHY BAN ON NIGERIA from all football competitions locally and internationally and that will spell doom for Nigerian Football.
“The immediate casualties of this ban would be (a) The Falconets who have qualified and are scheduled to participate in the Under-20 Female World Cup in July, 2018 (b) The final phases of the AFCON Qualifiers for the Super Eagles scheduled for August/September, 2018 (c) The Super Falcons defending their title in December in Ghana (d) No Nigerian Club side would be allowed to participate in the Continental Championships and (e) the future of all Nigerian players based in Nigeria would be in jeopardy as no Nigerian player would be allowed to be sold or transferred to any club anywhere in the world”, Keyamo said.
Meanwhile, NFF has complied with the Federal Government directive and Giwa led Board was restored on Tuesday.
AHURAKA YUSUF ISAH