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BAN ON NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAMS: AC SLAMS FG'S POLICY FLIP FLOP

By NBF News

The Action Congress (AC) has criticised the Federal Government's monumental policy flip-flop on the issue of the ban placed on national football teams from participating in international competitions for two years. In a statement issued in Ibadan on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the government's decision to lift the ban without concrete reasons beyond trying to avoid a FIFA ban, would hurt Nigeria's football in the long run.

It said the action had also provided an insight into how key decisions were taken at the highest echelon of government – without being well thought-out.

'The presidency said the ban was reversed after the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) apologised to the president and Nigerians, and because of the appeals from 'well meaning Nigerians' and former leaders. It also said the NFF had put its house in order by sacking its leadership.

'We cannot think of a more untenable excuse for the presidency to embark on such a policy inconsistency. The cosmetic change at the NFF, which removed only three of its members, cannot produce the kind of radical change that we need to push our football forward.

'Singling out the former NFF president, Sani Lulu, former first VP, Amanze Uchegbulam and former head of technical department, Taiwo Ogunjobi, amounts to a white-wash. The entire NFF Executive Committee should have accepted responsibility for embarrassing Nigeria and resigned to pave the way for fresh elections, after the disgrace in South Africa.'

The party wondered why the government was so afraid of a FIFA ban, when it (government) had in fact banned itself .

'Didn't they take into consideration the fact that FIFA will ban Nigeria for taking that decision, which of course contravenes the global body's non-interference-by-government rules? If they were not ready to damn the consequences, why place the ban in the first instance? Don't they think such policy sommersault exposes our country's leadership to ridicule?' it queried.

Describing the whole issue as unfortunate, AC said nothing had happened so far to show that there would be a paradigm shift in the hunt for talents and administration of football in Nigeria.

'One set of incompetent and greedy folks have been replaced by another at the NFF. After all the noise and drama, it is back to business as usual, to the detriment of Nigeria's football, no thanks to a government that acts on impulse,' the party said.