The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said the $960,000 released by FIFA to it was meant for preparation for the World Cup and not to pay players’ salaries for qualifier matches.
The President of the NFF, Ibrahim Gusau, while appearing before an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating non-payment of allowances to members of the Super Falcon, said the federation used the money for camping of players and friendly matches.
He said FIFA’s auditors would have flagged it if NFF had used the money to pay allowances for qualifier matches.
“All the 32 nations that qualified for the World Cup were given $960,000 each for preparation for the World Cup.
“In January, we organised a training tournament of four nations — Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica and Nigeria. Every team used FIFA preparation money. The team was camped in Mexico and they were there for 13 days. In March, they were in Turkey for another training camp.
“The money was not given for the welfare of players but for preparing the team. We paid them allowances as per the tournament they participated in. We cannot use the preparation money to pay outstanding of qualifier matches.
“If the auditors of FIFA should see it, they will query us for that. The money was specific. We cannot use the money for a qualifier that was played in 2019,” he said.
We did not get money from FG for the 2019 World Cup
Mr Gusau also informed the committee that the federation has not been getting enough subvention from the federal government, hence its inability to meet its obligations to the national teams.
He said the federal government did not give the federation money to execute the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France but had to rely on the money from FIFA.
For the 2023 World Cup, Mr Gusau said the federal government approved $1.7 million to the NFF, however, only half of the money was released to the federation.
“It is a budget we presented to the government requesting for intervention from the government, that was what cumulatively came around $1.7 million and the government approved it. And when it got to the federal ministry of finance—they don’t pay us in dollars. The Ministry converted the money into dollars using the official exchange rate. Only half of the money was paid,” he said.
The NFF boss also claimed that the owed allowances of the Falcon Coach, Coach Randy Waldrum, have been paid and his contract has been terminated.
He also said the NFF has paid all outstanding allowances to members of the Super Falcon team except the allowance for a qualifier game against Ivory Coast.
After about two hours of grilling Mr Gusau, the committee ruled that NFF should provide all evidence of payment of allowances. Also, the committee requested details of all revenue of the NFF.
The Chairman of the Committee, Blessing Onuh, subsequently adjourned the sitting of the Committee till Wednesday next week.
Edited: Festus Owete, Tosin Omoniyi
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