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Club managers, players join Nigeria league boycott

29 August 2014, 13:17

Abuja - Players and clubs on Friday joined a boycott of Nigeria's top flight league but the country's football association insisted that matches would go ahead as planned.

The Association of Professional Footballers of Nigeria (APFON), which represents players and club managers said they would not participate in the Nigeria Premier League until further notice.

The move followed a directive from the country's referees' association not to take charge of matches this weekend in protest at the governance crisis in the domestic game.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is in turmoil, after being sanctioned by FIFA over alleged government interference in their running of the game and a leadership power struggle.

Nigeria, the current African champions, could face further action from the world game's governing body for ignoring a FIFA directive to hold fresh elections to appoint a new NFF president.

Instead, the incumbent, Aminu Maigari, was arrested with another senior official by Nigeria's secret police, allegedly to stop them attending a meeting where a new president was then appointed.

AFPON president, former Nigeria international Dahiru Sadi, said they had advised all members to "boycott all league matches with immediate effect to protest the illegality of the purported elections".

But Chris Giwa, who replaced Maigari on Tuesday, maintained that there was no change to the programme and they had not been informed by organisers the League Management Company (LMC).

The LMC had no right to order a suspension unilaterally, he added.

"As the owners of the league, the Nigeria Football Federation is hereby making it clear that Premier League matches are not suspended," Giwa said.

"Matches scheduled for this weekend will definitely take place."

Two new members of the NFF executive committee have meanwhile distanced themselves from Tuesday's vote, describing it as illegal.

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