ZURICH, September 4- FIFA on Wednesday set Nigeria a new deadline to elect officials to run its game, threatening the African champions with immediate suspension from international competition if the current regime did not step down.
The world governing body said on its website that it had decided to extend by one week a deadline for Chris Giwa to stand down as the head of the NFF with his appointed executive committee.
Giwa, a club owner, was appointed to run Nigerian football in controversial circumstances on August 26 after the incumbent, Aminu Maigari, was arrested and held by the country’s secret police, allegedly to stop him attending a meeting of top NFF officials.
In a statement, FIFA’s Emergency Committee said it had sent a letter to the NFF “confirming that the NFF will be suspended with immediate effect should there still be persons claiming to have been elected to NFF positions on 26 August 2014 and occupying their offices on Monday 8 September 2014 at 0800 (Central European Time, 0700 GMT)”.
The ultimatum means FIFA only recognises Maigari as properly elected. Giwa has said he will not step down.
The suspension will last “until the board claiming to be elected vacates the premises of the NFF and the NFF General Secretary (Maigari) is able to perform his work without interference”, the statement added.
Fresh executive committee elections should be held as early as possible, FIFA said.
A power struggle for leadership of the NFF has been rumbling since the end of the World Cup finals and has seen Maigari ousted, impeached on corruption allegations and reinstated even before his detention.
FIFA suspended Nigeria from international competition in July on the grounds of “government interference” in the running of its affairs but later lifted the ban.
Giwa’s disputed appointment led to a league boycott by referees, clubs and players last weekend.
The dispute has dominated the build-up to Nigeria’s first Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo, which takes place on Saturday in the southeastern city of Calabar.