Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) first vice-president, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi has added another angle to reactions to last week’s Supreme Court judgment, as he says the soccer body is not scared of restarting the case with the long-standing antagonist to their leadership, Chris Giwa.
Akinwunmi said the NFF Board appreciated the reasoning of the apex court in refusing the prayers of the appellants, which if granted would have accord them some kind of legitimacy.
This comes against the backdrop of an ongoing administration of football in the country, which is at the cusp of taking Nigeria to the world’s greatest football event, the World Cup.
He disclosed that the NFF’s lawyers are confidently prepared to argue the case afresh and look forward to finally putting the matter to rest, and to prove to the world that Nigerian football can continue to be run in its orderly manner.
He referred to the case as a mere distraction for Nigerian Football which ought not to have been instituted in the first place given the convention for resolution of football disputes.
Akinwunmi assured all stakeholders of the game in Nigeria and lovers of Nigerian Football elsewhere that there is no cause for alarm.
The administrator, who doubles as chairman of Lagos State Football Association, also noted that the case starting afresh is an opportunity to firmly and formally reiterate the tenets of good governance and order in local and international football administration by the NFF.
Akinwunmi said: “We are law-abiding citizens of this great country, and we have no qualms about starting the case afresh.
“The Supreme Court did the right thing in the circumstances, and while we must be careful not to discuss matters which are subjudice.
“We must note that the appellants have within the norms in sporting disputes, actually exhausted all legitimate channels in this matter, including arguing their position, and failing, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“Globally, the convention of football is that football matters should not be taken to civil courts.
“Instead, it should be taken to Arbitration as the appellants have already done in this matter with no success. That ordinarily should have been the end of the matter.
“However, as law-abiding citizens, the NFF is ready to follow this through, vindicate ourselves and continue with the peaceful and enormous progress that has come to define Nigerian Football in the past few years.
“It is important to assure our partners and sponsors, football players, service providers and CAF and FIFA that there is nothing to worry about.
“We are preparing for the biggest football extravaganza in the universe which starts in a few weeks, and we do not want our players to be unnecessarily disturbed or distracted.
“We also want to assure the Senior Women Team (Super Falcons) and the U20 boys (Flying Eagles), who are starting qualifying campaigns for continental competitions very soon.
“As well as the U20 (Falconets) who have qualified for the FIFA U20 World Cup finals taking place in France in a few months, that there is nothing to panic about.
“We appreciate the Members of the Congress, CAF and FIFA for their support and confidence in the NFF leadership and assure them that this matter will be put to rest shortly.”