After
an Extra-Ordinary General
Congress meeting of the Amaju Pinnick led Nigeria Football Federation
in Benin today,
the ban on
Chris Giwa may be lifted by the Federation and FIFA while his club,
Giwa FC may return to the League.

Giwa
who has for the last four year laid claim to the throne of Nigerian
football will be un-banned
if he meets certain conditions.

His
club, GIWA FC, thrown out of the league a few years ago is also set
to return to the Nigeria National League.

The
congress was attended by 44 affiliates of the NFF, comprising of
chairmen
and secretaries of the affiliates and one of the resolutions reached
was to un-ban
Chris Giwa and his group.

In
article K of the communique issued after the congress, “The
foregoing notwithstanding, the Congress having duly deliberated on
the current situation and, in view of the calls from all stakeholders
to provide a lasting solution to the current situation, approved the
provision of the following window for any stakeholder, including
Chris Giwa and his group, with a pending court case to retrace their
steps and reconcile with the football family upon the fulfilment of
following terms”

The
terms include, dismissal of all pending Court cases against NFF and
its leadership, within 2 weeks of this resolution and file affidavits
in court to affirm to be bound by and uphold the football statutes
and, undertake not to take any football matter to court but, to
resolve any disputes and/or grievances within the available
alternative dispute resolutions mechanism enshrined in the football
statutes.

On
fulfilling these terms, congress agrees that it “empowers the NFF
Executive Committee to immediately commence the process of unbanning
and/or removing any penalties on persons that are currently under
sanctions for breaches of the NFF Statutes, provided they first
comply fully by withdrawing the court cases and filing the required
affidavits.

On
the issue of Giwa FC that was thrown our of the League, the Congress
agreed that their expulsion from the League in 2016 was not on
account of the political situation in Nigerian football, but multiple
breaches of the framework and rules of the league.

Recall
that Giwa FC had mised three consecutive matches within the season.

Congress
noted that Giwa FC had the opportunity to appeal the decision through
the league rules and other football mechanisms but instead,
approached the ordinary courts by filing a suit at the Jos High Court
to challenge the league ruling, including contempt proceedings
against the league leadership. Congress noted also that the matter
was eventually decided by the Court of Appeal, Jos in favour of the
League.

However,
the Congress further noted that Giwa FC was never expelled from
participating in league football totally but relegated to the lower
league as provided in the league rules. Consequently, as part of
reconciliation, the Congress has mandated the Executive Committee to,
upon application by Giwa FC, immediately permit the registration of
Giwa FC to commence participation in the 2018 Nigeria National
League.

All
matches are to be rescheduled in the league to accommodate the club
and NFF shall provide reasonable support to the clubs in the division
to accommodate these additional matches with Giwa FC, which are not
captured in their budgets.

Chris
Giwa’s reactions to these
resolutions from the extraordinary General Congress of the NFF will
go a long way to determine the direction of
Nigerian football in the
face of uncertainty, at least over the last six weeks.

Full
Text of the Communique

NFF
COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT

COMMUNIQUE
OF THE EXTRA-ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE NIGERIA FOOTBALL
FEDERATION HELD AT EDO HERITAGE HOTEL, BENIN CITY ON THURSDAY, 2ND
AUGUST 2018

1. The
NFF Extra Ordinary General Assembly (Congress) was convened pursuant
to the provisions of Article 29 (Extra Ordinary General Assembly) of
the NFF Statutes, 2010; with the sole agenda to review the current
situation of Nigerian Football and come up with recommendations and
solutions to protect and promote the integrity of Association
Football in Nigeria.

2. In
attendance at the Congress were representatives of the 44 affiliates
of the NFF, comprising of chairmen and secretaries of the affiliates.

3. The
Congress, having been briefed by the NFF Executive Committee on the
current situation of Nigeria Football, deliberated upon and reviewed
all the issues, and arrived at the following resolutions:

a) The
Congress expressed appreciation to the Federal Government and, in
particular, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), for the continuous
support the Government has been giving football development,
including the unequivocal endorsement of the applicability in Nigeria
of the tenets of Association Football, in line with the best
international practices. The Congress duly appreciates this support,
as it is clearly the panacea that would drive sustainable football
development in Nigeria.

b) Affirmed
that Association Football is governed by Statutes (NFF and FIFA
Statutes) and clearly set out rules and regulations, to which all
members and participants in Association Football voluntarily
subscribe and, are obligated to respect and uphold.

c) Emphasized
that the adoption of the operation of the NFF Statutes in Nigeria
(Management and Regulation of football activities in Nigeria) was
duly approved and endorsed by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at
its meeting of Wednesday January 5th, 2005 Conclusion EC (2005) 1st
Meeting. The National Assembly also duly approved and endorsed this
decision of Federal Government. Furthermore, the Federal Government
also duly provided a written undertaking to FIFA in 2007, as a
condition for Nigeria’s further membership and participation in
FIFA and its activities, to guarantee that NFF is strictly organized,
administered and regulated in line with the NFF Statutes.

d) That,
consequent upon a previous oral undertaking which culminated in the
written one in the same terms by the Federal Government, since 2006,
football in Nigeria has been administered in line with the
Federation’s Statutes, which clearly prohibits any member or
stakeholder from taking football matter to ordinary court of law.

e) Furthermore,
the rules of Association Football (NFF and FIFA Statutes) which
strictly forbids any member from taking football matters to ordinary
courts of law, rather provides internal mechanisms within the
football statutes to resolve any disputes and/ or grievances of any
member. Indeed, it is a precondition and obligation for all FIFA
members to agree to these simple principles as a condition for
membership of FIFA and/or participation in FIFA events and programs.
In view of this, every genuine stakeholder in Association Football
has the obligation to abide by these rules and regulations and follow
the laid out processes to ventilate any grievances.

f) Duly
noted the current unwarranted happenings in Nigeria football
occasioned by the fact that some stakeholders, flagrantly, and in
clear violations of the football rules and regulations have taken
football matters to ordinary courts of law, over election matters
that have since been resolved by the Court of Arbitration for Sports,
Switzerland, in line with the applicable football rules and
regulations.

g) Affirmed,
without equivocation, that the only valid NFF elections held in 2014
is the September 30th, 2014 elections in Warri, in which the entire
stakeholders and Congress participated and voted in and, was won by
Amaju Melvin Pinnick and other members of his Executive Committee, as
endorsed by FIFA.

h) Affirmed
that issue of 2014 NFF elections has been duly disposed of by the
Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland with its ruling
of May 18, 2015, upon a petition against FIFA and NFF by Chris Giwa
and others. This clearly establishes that the matter has been
disposed of from a legal perspective in line with the applicable and
binding Association Football rules and regulations. Therefore, there
is no basis or foundation for the current court actions in the
Federal High Court, Jos in Suit no FHC/J/CS/177/2014 over the same
matter as it is clearly ultra vires to football rules and
regulations. It is simply an unnecessary distraction to and
detraction from the sustainable growth of football in Nigeria and has
the potential to get Nigeria suspended from being a member of the
global football family, FIFA.

i) Affirmed
that the NFF did not take any matter to ordinary courts but is
obligated to file appeals, motions and applications to defend the
suits filed against the NFF by these stakeholders. Indeed, the NFF
has filed a Motion on Notice, since 2014, to challenge the
jurisdiction of the courts to hear this suit since the matter is
purely a football matter, subject to the rules and regulations of
Association Football. This motion is still pending and yet to be
decided. The Congress duly empowered the NFF Executive Committee to
continue to explore all available legal means to protect Association
Football against any affront.

j) The
Congress unanimously resolved that henceforth any member of the
football family that takes any football matter to the ordinary courts
of law would be automatically expelled from all football activities
with immediate effect from the date of filing such proceedings or law
suit.

k) The
foregoing notwithstanding, the Congress having duly deliberated on
the current situation and, in view of the calls from all stakeholders
to provide a lasting solution to the current situation, approved the
provision of the following window for any stakeholder, including
Chris Giwa and his group, with a pending court case to retrace their
steps and reconcile with the football family upon the fulfilment of
following terms:
1) Ensure
the dismissal of all pending Court cases against NFF and its
leadership, within 2 weeks of this resolution.
2) File
affidavits in court to affirm to be bound by and uphold the football
statutes and, undertake not to take any football matter to court but,
to resolve any disputes and/or grievances within the available
alternative dispute resolutions mechanism enshrined in the football
statutes.
3) Upon
the fulfilment of 1 and 2 above, the Congress hereby empowers the NFF
Executive Committee to immediately commence the process of unbanning
and/or removing any penalties on persons that are currently under
sanctions for breaches of the NFF Statutes, provided they first
comply fully by withdrawing the court cases and filing the required
affidavits.

l) The
Congress also reviewed the matter of Giwa FC, that was expelled from
the NPFL in 2016 and, affirmed that the club was expelled not on
account of any crisis in Nigerian football and/or the claim or
challenge by Chris Giwa to NFF leadership, but for multiple breaches
of the framework and rules of the league (deliberately missing 3
cumulative matches within a season). Congress noted that Giwa FC had
the opportunity to appeal the decision through the league rules and
other football mechanisms but instead, approached the ordinary courts
by filing a suit at the Jos High Court to challenge the league
ruling, including contempt proceedings against the league leadership.
Congress noted also that the matter was eventually decided by the
Court of Appeal, Jos in favour of the League. However, the Congress
further noted that Giwa FC was never expelled from participating in
league football totally but relegated to the lower league as provided
in the league rules. Consequently, as part of reconciliation, the
Congress has mandated the Executive Committee to, upon application by
Giwa FC, immediately permit the registration of Giwa FC to commence
participation in the 2018 Nigeria National League. All matches are to
be rescheduled in the league to accommodate the club and NFF shall
provide reasonable support to the clubs in the division to
accommodate these additional matches with Giwa FC, which are not
captured in their budgets.

m) The
Congress as part of the wider reconciliation efforts, has mandated
and approved for the NFF Electoral Committee elected by the Congress
pursuant to the NFF Statutes at the NFF General Assembly in Jos,
October19th 2017, to immediately take and acknowledge the following
steps:

1) Review
the ongoing NFF electoral processes, guidelines and reopen the
process for any qualified interested stakeholder to participate,
including those that may qualify after meeting the set conditions of
taking football matters out of ordinary courts as outlined above.

2) Adjust
the election calendar to a suitable date in view of the fact that CAF
has fixed its Extra Ordinary General Assembly in Egypt on the same
date as the proposed NFF Elective Congress (September 29th 2018).

3) Accordingly,
the Congress has unanimously approved and endorsed the suspension of
all provision of the NFF Statutes, Electoral Code and Elections
Guidelines that are time-bound to ensure the seamless implementation
of the above directives and approval by the Electoral Committee.

4) All
candidates for elections must undertake to work with the entire
football family whether they are ultimately successful, or not, at
the elections.

n) The
Congress implored all stakeholders interested in being part of NFF
Executive Committee to subject themselves to and come through the
legitimate electoral process as outlined in the statutes and, assures
all parties of the support of the football family; provided they
assume their positions through the legitimate process.

o) The
Congress further approved for the Executive Committee to take all
necessary steps and actions where necessary to bring the entire
football family together and ensure all parties are working for the
overall interest of football.

p) The
Congress implored the National Assembly to fast-track the conclusion
of the NFF Bill, which has already passed third reading in both
chambers and awaiting harmonization and transmittal to the
President/C-in-C for assent. The Congress noted that the NFF Bill
would provide the platform that would completely eliminate most of
the current challenges being experienced and ensure the sustainable
development of football in Nigeria. The Congress further noted that
the NFF Statutes would consequently be duly amended to conform to the
current realities of modern football management and the provisions of
the NFF Bill as well as ensure inclusivity and optimization of
service delivery at all levels

q) The
Congress expressed its unreserved apology to all the Football
stakeholders, sponsors, partners, and all Nigerians for the current
unwarranted situation of Nigerian Football and assures all parties
that all necessary steps would be taken to resolve the issues, as
outlined above and strategies implemented to ensure these issues
never recur.

r) The
Congress mandated the Executive Committee to ensure the commencement
of all football programs, including Leagues, Aiteo Cup, Zenith Bank
U13 & U15 Future Eagles Championship, among others, and directed
the relevant NFF standing committees to appropriate support in this
regard.

s) The
Congress expressed its congratulations to the NFF President, Mr.
Amaju Melvin Pinnick for his nomination as CAF 1st Vice-President,
and enjoined all stakeholders to rally round him to provide all the
support needed to ensure he successfully delivers on his mandate.

t) Congress
expressed appreciation to the Government and people of Edo State,
particularly His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki and Members of
his cabinet, for the support given to the NFF Congress to hold its
Extra-Ordinary General Assembly in Benin City.

u) The
Congress passed a vote of confidence on President Amaju Pinnick and
the NFF Executive Committee under his headship for their laudable
leadership and management of Nigerian Football.

COMMUNIQUE
DRAFTING COMMITTEE

Sir
E. C. Chukwuemeka (Chairman); Mohammed Nasir Saidu (Vice Chairman);
Frank Ilaboya (Member); Isah Ladan Bosso (Member); Tade Azeez
(Member); Ademola Olajire (Secretary)

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