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Nigerian football thrown into international wilderness over 'interference'

Nigeria have been suspended from international football because of government interference, FIFA said yesterday.

World football's ruling body sent a letter to the Nigeria Football Federation last week expressing their concern after the NFF were served with court proceedings preventing their president from running the African country's football affairs.

"As a result of this decision, no team from Nigeria of any sort [including clubs] can have any international sporting contact," FIFA said. "During the period of suspension, the NFF may not be represented in any regional, continental or international competitions, including at club level, or in friendly matches."

FIFA said the court order compelled the Nigerian Minister of Sports to appoint a senior member of the civil service to manage the NFF until the matter was heard in court without giving any date for the hearing. The authorities then appointed a person who decided to convene an extraordinary general assembly on July 5, FIFA said.

"This extraordinary general assembly was convened in violation of the NFF statutes," added FIFA. "The suspension will be lifted once the court actions have been withdrawn and the properly elected NFF Executive Committee, the NFF general assembly and the NFF administration are able to work without any interference in their affairs," added FIFA.

Nigeria, the African champions, reached the last 16 at the World Cup in Brazil before losing 2-0 to France.

Meanwhile Neymar is recovering "very well" from the fractured vertebra that ended his World Cup, said Barcelona yesterday after medical staff from the La Liga club examined the Brazil forward at his home. Club doctors confirmed the diagnosis made by the Brazilian football federation (CBF) and agreed to the course of treatment with CBF medical staff. Neymar was injured in a challenge by Juan Zuniga, of Colombia.

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