FIFA ultimatum clock ticks down for Nigeria

JOHANNESBURG, July 5, 2010 (AFP) - Football governing body FIFA on Monday indicated its ultimatum for Nigeria to reverse its decision to ban the national football team from international matches following its poor showing at the World Cup stood.

(FILES) The Nigeria national football team pose prior the Group B first round 2010 World Cup football match Greece vs Nigeria on June 17, 2010. AFP

FIFA announced on Friday it had given Nigeria until 1600 GMT with FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot saying a letter had been sent to the Nigerian Football Federation on setting the deadline to reverse the decision or face "the suspension of the Nigerian federation."

"We have no further information at this stage. The deadline is until 6 pm," a FIFA spokesman said.

"We have to wait until the deadline, which is at 6 p.m. (1600GMT) If there is no indication or if the suspension is confirmed, we'll confirm certainly by a media release," the spokesman said.

Traditional African powerhouse Nigeria finished bottom of their group in South Africa with just one point from three matches.

Last week, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said he would meet the Nigerian executive member representing Nigeria at FIFA to discuss the decision.

"Nigeria went too far and Nigeria will be suspended if they don't change their position in the next 48 hours," Valcke told South Africa's independent Talk Radio 702.

"You cant allow a government to say all national teams can't play anymore in any international tournaments."

He said the decision to suspend Nigeria would be in line with the governing body's efforts to retain the independence of football from political interference. 

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