Nigerian Sports Minister Demands Football Federation Audit

Nigeria Olympic team
Nigerian footballers William Ekong (L) and John Obi Mikel (R) celebrate with their bronze medals after defeating Honduras in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men's bronze medal football match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, August 20. Nigeria's sports minister has demanded an audit into the country's football federation. GUSTAVO ANDRADE/AFP/Getty

Nigeria's sports minister has demanded an audit of the West African country's football federation, citing irregularities in the use of funds given to it by FIFA.

Solomon Dalung made the call at the Nigeria Football Federation's (NFF) annual meeting in Lagos Monday. Dalung claimed that $802,000 is unaccounted for in the NFF's finances, a claim denied by the federation.

FIFA has reportedly stopped its annual funding to the NFF—worth $1.1 million—as a result of the dispute, according to the BBC.

"This is a very serious issue that must be given urgent attention to avoid another international embarrassment," said Dalung. The minister added that the administration of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had "zero tolerance for any act of misappropriation, misapplication, embezzlement or fraud in any guise." Buhari was elected in March 2015 on an anti-corruption ticket.

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In a communiqué released after the meeting, the NFF said that Dalung was "misinformed" on the issue and that it had already had an audit conducted by a reputable firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, approved by its general assembly.

Nigeria has had several embarrassing protests over the lax payment of players in recent months. Olympic captain and Chelsea midfielder Mikel John Obi told Newsweek that the men's football team did not train on several occasions during the tournament in Rio de Janeiro in protest at not having received allowances on time.

Nigeria's female football team, the Super Falcons, ended a sit-in protest Monday that had been ongoing for 13 days. The players, who recently won the 2016 Women's Africa Cup of Nations, were protesting as they had not been paid the $23,650 per player for winning the tournament. After demonstrating outside Buhari's presidential villa Friday, the government released about $1.2 million to the EFF to pay the players.

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Nigerian Sports Minister Demands Football Federation Audit | Sports