The president of Nigeria has suspended the national soccer team from international competition for two years after its poor showing at the World Cup.
The announcement by President Goodluck Jonathan’s spokesman Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria, also follows corruption allegations in the run-up to the tournament.
Spokesman Ima Niboro said all funds directed toward the Nigeria Football Federation would be examined and “all those found wanting will be sanctioned.”
Niboro said Jonathan’s decision came after he read a report written by the presidential soccer task force.
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Federation spokesman Ademola Olajire told The Associated Press that he had no information about the suspension.
“We have not been directed,” Olajire said. “We have no letter” from the president.
Nigeria lost to Argentina, 1-0, in its Group B opener and fell to Greece, 2-1, in a game turned by the first-half expulsion of midfielder Sani Kaita. It played South Korea to 2-2 draw in its last game.
Nigeria now risks being banned by FIFA from all international soccer because of the political interference.
“At the time of writing, we have no official information on this matter,” FIFA said in a statement. “However, in general, FIFA’s position regarding political interference in football is well known.”
HEARINGS IN FRANCE
France wants answers about why its team melted down at the World Cup, so French legislators huddled behind closed doors to investigate the issue.
French lawmakers summoned coach Raymond Domenech and national federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes for a grilling on what went so spectacularly wrong with the team that finished runner-up in 2006.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has warned that the team risks suspension from global events if authorities interfere with the soccer federation.
Parliament doesn’t see it that way.
“It isn’t FIFA’s role to threaten French lawmakers; we’re in a democracy and parliamentarians have the right to hear anyone they want,” lawmaker Eric Ciotti said after the hearing.
“This isn’t just about football, it’s about France: It’s our honor … at stake,” said lawmaker Jacques Remiller.
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