*Infantino endorses Pinnick, says no crisis in Nigerian football
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE and fred Itua, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed FIFA’s President, Gianni Infantino plans to reform the game through transparency, anti-corruption and good governance.
He assured that his administration would pay keen interest to accountability and transparency to fast-track football development in the country.
This was even, as the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino noted that there was no crisis in football management in Nigeria, noting that there was an elected president in place, who is already functioning.
Buhari, who received the FIFA President, Infantino, and the Secretary-General, Fatima Samuora at State House challenged football administrators in the country to fashion out strategic programmes to develop the game.
The president while congratulating the duo on their election, particularly Samuora, who is the first African and female to be elected FIFA Secretary-General, pledged Nigeria’s support to FIFA president’s reform agenda, noting that they were similar to those his presidency had outlined to restore Nigeria.
“Majority of Nigerians are married to football. In the rural areas, when there is no electricity and there is a game to watch, Nigerians go to the extent of renting small generators, popularly known as ‘I better-pass-my neighbour’ to watch the game.
“We will take the development of football very seriously and I encourage the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to behave itself and organise effective competitions for the good of the game,” he said.
“Accountability is serious business and I welcome you (Infantino) into the club of accountable Chief Executive Officers,” he said.
In his remarks, Infantino urged the Federal Government to pay attention to infrastructural development and seek a lasting solution to the problem of violence and insecurity at match venues. He also disclosed that FIFA would soon increase yearly contributions and investments four times more than is presently the case, saying with that more can be done.
On the crisis in Nigeria Football, Infantino said: “I don’t think there is any crisis in football management in Nigeria, there is an elected president in place and he is functioning. In a big country like Nigeria you are bound to see opposition that is what you are seeing”.