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Nigeria given Friday deadline by FIFA

BLATTER-STANDABUJA, October 29- Nigeria will be banned from all football unless a court decision that sacked the country’s recently elected FA executives is not overturned by Friday, world governing body FIFA announced on Tuesday.

A leadership crisis has bedeviled the African champions for the past four months despite several interventions by FIFA, who have now warned it will slap a lengthy ban on it.

Last week, a group led by Chris Giwa secured a court ruling that sacked the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) executive committee led by Amaju Pinnick.

Giwa, who maintains he was elected NFF president on August 26 although FIFA refused to recognise it, took the matter to court in contravention of FIFA statutes forbidding football issues to be deliberated in a civil court.

But a letter from FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke to Pinnick, who was elected as president of the NFF on September 30, said FIFA had extended the deadline for Nigeria till Friday as an opportunity to avoid a lengthy ban.

“This gives Nigerian football a last opportunity to avoid a lengthy suspension,” stated Valcke in his letter.

“We inform you that if by Friday 31 October 2014 at midday Nigerian time we have not received proof that the case (the Jos Federal High Court ruling that sacked the Pinnick led NFF board) has been definitively withdrawn from court and that the board elected on 30 September 2014 is able to carry out its activities without any hindrance, we will refer the case to the FIFA Emergency Committee for implementation of the suspension,” he added.

On Tuesday, it was revealed the country’s sports minister was locked in a meeting with Pinnick and the group led by Giwa in Abuja in a bid to ensure Nigeria avoided the ban.

The NFF have also appealed the court ruling and also requested a stay of execution.

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Their appeal is to be heard on Wednesday in Jos.

The crisis has been going on since July when Nigeria was suspended briefly after another court in Jos sacked the NFF then led by Aminu Maigari and the country’s sports minister appointed a civil servant to run the federation.

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