Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has joined the growing list of FIFA member Federations that have subscribed to the FIFA Integrity Initiative following the conclusion of a Round-table Discussion in Lagos between the Federation and Heads of the FIFA Early Warning System and International Affairs.
President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick led the Federation’s 1st Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, the 2nd Vice President/LMC Chairman Shehu Dikko and LMC Chief Executive Officer Honourable Nduka Irabor, to the meeting at Four Points Hotel on Victoria Island, Lagos with Dr. Julie Norris, Head of the Early Warning System and Jacek Wojdyla, the Head of International Affairs at FIFA. Also at the discussion were Barrister Okey Obi, NFF Chief Legal Officer, Harry Iwuala, LMC Head of Special Projects and Dr. Christian Emeruwa, the NFF Integrity Officer.
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In her opening remarks, Dr. Norris explained that the objective of the meeting was to partner with the NFF as they have done with about 109 other member Federations that have subscribed to the campaign to protect the integrity of NFF competitions.
“We are happy to work with you to build capacity through training for the enforcement of FIFA Integrity Initiatives that will enable the Federation have the capacity to detect and deal with threats of match fixing through the activities of sports betting,” Norris stated.
She added that Nigeria would have to adopt and domesticate the FIFA model to suit her own operational peculiarities. “There is no one solution that fixes all the threats and it is left for the Federation working with us to design what will work for it and we are always there to monitor and flag such threats when detected”.
Dr. Emeruwa, who attended the FIFA/Interpol Education and Prevention Initiative Integrity in Sports Workshop in Abidjan revealed that of the five thematic areas identified at the workshop for implementation, Nigeria has implemented the first two which are the appointment of a Desk Officer and creation of awareness among all stakeholders.
Of the remaining three areas, Emeruwa said, “The NFF Integrity Unit has developed a template as proposed guidelines for combating match manipulation and enhancement of the integrity program for our competitions and this guideline is to be presented to the NFF Congress at its next convocation.
“Plans are on to work out a dedicated funding system to aid the initiative while the NFF Congress is being awaited to approve guidelines for a structure to collaborate with security agencies such as the Police, Department of State Security and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”
In his closing remarks, NFF President Pinnick assured the FIFA team that the NFF Executive Committee will provide the enabling structure for the Integrity Initiative to be effective, noting that, “from the report of the NFF Desk Officer, it is obvious that we are committed to the campaign.”