Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, has suspended the country’s national side from international football for two years as a result of their poor performance at the World Cup.
Ima Niboro, spokesman for the president, said: “Mr President has directed that Nigeria will withdraw from all international football competition for the next two years to enable Nigeria to reorganise its football. This directive became necessary following the country’s poor performance in the ongoing Fifa World Cup.”
Nigeria were eliminated at the group stage after taking just one point from three games in Group B, drawing with South Korea and losing to Argentina and Greece.
Mr Niboro also announced a full audit of the Nigerian FA’s accounts, promising: “If any financial misappropriation is discovered, all officials responsible will be held accountable.” The hiring of coach Lars Lagerback will also be investigated.
The audit follows revelations by former England coach Glenn Hoddle that he turned down the position after agreeing a $1m a year contract when told it would be announced as paying $1.5m a year, with the remaining $500,000 being paid to the officials involved.
President Goodluck’s suspension of the national team is likely to raise the ire of FIFA, whose directives prevent political interference in national associations. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said: “Definitely I can tell you that political interference will be dealt with by Fifa notwithstanding what kind of interference and what is the size of the country.”
Blatter has said much the same about the French government’s planned inquiry into their own World Cup fiasco which saw players refuse to train after Nicolas Anelka was sent home for abusing coach Raymond Domenech. The policy, however, does not appear to extend to North Korea, whose squad were accompanied by government officials at all times during their stay in South Africa, controlling the questions their players could answer at press conferences.