During the courtesy visit to the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria at the state house Abuja on Monday July 25, 2016, FIFA President Gianni Infantino seized the opportunity to deliver his reform message to the government and the football community in the country.
Infantino asked the Nigerian authorities to pay attention to infrastructure and find a lasting solution to the problem of violence and insecurity at the match venue.
“I foresee Nigeria as bedrock for the development of the game in Africa; however infrastructure, administrative stability and security are needed to make this happen.”
“Football administrators in Nigeria must fashion out strategic programs for a continuous development of the game and should imbibe FIFA reform policies through transparency and accountability…”
“This cannot be compromised at this time in the dealings at any level of administrative responsibilities. There should be proper check and balances put in place…”
“FIFA is committed to redeeming its image as a responsible organization after the incidences of recent time and we are saddled with the responsibility to ensure we rebuild the confidence of all stakeholders… We require the support of Nigeria as a vital partner of FIFA.” Infantino Concluded.
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier said his administration will pay keen interest to accountability and transparency to fast-track football development in the country.
President Buhari welcomed Infantino’s program to reform the world game through transparency, anti-corruption and good governance.
The President pledged Nigeria’s support to FIFA President’s reform agenda, noting that they were similar to those his administration had outlined to resuscitate Nigeria.
“Majority of Nigerians are married to football. In rural area, when there is no electricity and there is a game to watch… Nigerians go to the extent of renting small generators popularly as ‘I better-pass-my neighbor’ to watch the game…”
“We will take development of football very seriously and I encourage Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to behave itself and organize effective competitions for the good of the game…”
“Accountability is serious business and I welcome you (Infantino) into the club of accountable Chief Executive Officers.” President declared.
In a different occasion, on his two days working visit in Nigeria, Infantino said FIFA plan to expand the world cup in 2026, to accommodate more countries and to have 40 national teams compete at the final stage.
Infantino also said he wasn’t aware there’s still leadership crisis in NFF… “We have always known Amaju Pinnick as the duly elected Chair person of NFF.”