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FIFA suspends Nigeria; World Cup-bound U-20 women could suffer immediate impact

Nigeria's U-20 women's team may not be able to play in the World Cup next month.

The FIFA Emergency Committee announced on Wednesday that it has suspended the Nigeria Football Federation, effective immediately, due to government interference. No team from Nigeria — clubs or national teams — is allowed to compete during the ban, which could keep the U-20 Nigerian women from playing at next month’s World Cup in Canada.

If the suspension is not lifted by July 15, Nigeria will not be allowed to participate in the U-20 Women’s World Cup from August 5-24, FIFA says.

UPDATE: South Africa will replace Nigeria if the ban is not lifted by July 15 —

The suspension comes after the Nigerian government fired the football federation’s leaders after the team’s World Cup exit following a loss to France in the Round of 16. While in Brazil, the Nigerian men’s national team disputed player bonuses, and Nigeria’s government took action against the federation’s leadership, citing embarrassment. NFF president Aminu Maigari was arrested upon return from Brazil.

The Nigerian government has issued a legal order for the sports ministry to appoint new federation leaders.

Nigeria’s U-20 women just left the country for a month-long training camp in Canada ahead of the tournament. Nigeria is slated to play England, South Korea and Mexico in Group C. The country has participated in all six previous editions of the tournament.

“We have a squad of able, courageous and confident players and I believe we have the capacity to go all the way in Canada,” coach Peter Dedevbo said.


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