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FIFA gives Nigeria 48 hours to reverse ban

Football governing body FIFA today gave Nigeria just under two days to reverse its decision to ban the national football team from international matches following its poor showing at the World Cup.

sports Updated: Jul 02, 2010 15:04 IST

Football governing body FIFA, on Friday, gave Nigeria just under two days to reverse its decision to ban the national football team from international matches following its poor showing at the World Cup.

FIFA's general secretary Jerome Valcke said he would meet the Nigerian executive member representing Nigeria at FIFA to discuss the decision. "Nigeria went too far and Nigeria will be suspended if they don't change their position in the next 48 hours," Valcke told independent Talk Radio 702.

His comments came after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan banned the Nigerian national football team from international matches following its disappointing first round exit at the World Cup. Nigeria finished bottom of their group in South Africa with just one point from three matches. The idea is to overhaul the system to avoid a repeat of the "rather embarrassing" display in South Africa, according to presidential spokesman Ima Niboro earlier explaining the decision.

"You can't allow a government to say all national teams can't play anymore in any international tournaments," said Valcke. He said the decision to suspend Nigeria would be in line with the governing body's efforts to retain the independence of football from political interference. "Why should we be so strong on France when they did what they did and we say nothing about Nigeria," Valcke said referring to their warnings to the French government not to interfere in the infrastructure of the French football regime after the catastrophic performance of the national team at the tournament.

"We have 208 members...if you have one country going against our statute, going against the football system, the pyramid of football...all is destroyed," Valcke said.