By Patrick Omorodion
The struggle by the erstwhile chairman of the Nigeria Premier League, NPL, Chief Rumson Victor Baribote to reclaim his position has finally hit the rocks with football’s world governing body, FIFA throwing out his petition against the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and warning him of the consequences of dragging the NFF to court.

In a four paragraph mail to Chief Baribote which was copied to both the NFF and the Confederation of African Football, CAF, FIFA Secretary General, Jerome Valcke acknowledged the receipt of the former NPL chairman’s letter as well as that of his lawyer written of September 4 and 5 respectively intimating  FIFA of an alleged case brought against him by the NFF.

 FIFA President Sepp Blatter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter

According to the FIFA scribe, the NFF was asked to furnish the Zurich office of the body with information on the crisis in the NPL so as “to get a clearer picture of the current situation”and the NFF responded with reports received on August 6 and 29, 2013.

After studying the reports from both Chief Baribote and the NFF, Valcke said, FIFA therefore deemed that “the matter is internal and falls under the responsibility of the NFF” and advised Baribote accordingly that “the matter does not come under the remit of FIFA and (therefore) we are unable to intervene as requested by you.”

Reminding Chief Baribote that FIFA was aware of cases of football filed in ordinary courts of law in Nigeria which violates some sections of the FIFA statutes, Valcke warned the Bayelsa-born administrator that he could be sanctioned by the NFF over his recourse to seek redress in a law court.

“Please be informed that pursuant to article  68 and paragraph 2 and 3 of the FIFA statutes, recourse to ordinary courts of law is, as a general rule, prohibited and the NFF shall impose sanctions on parties that fail to respect  aforementioned obligation,” the letter warned.

Efforts to reach Chief Baribote proved abortive and calls put across to some of his aides and acquaintances were not acknowledged either as at press time last night.


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