The House Committee on Sports led by Godfrey Gaiya ruled on Tuesday that the Nigeria Football Federation should not return the $3.6million “borrowed” from the federal government during the last FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The Federation had deducted the money from the $8.5million paid to it by FIFA as part of its World Cup appearance fee.
Mr. Gaiya, during the budget hearing, said it was “alien” to return the $3.6million to the government.
“Money for intervention for sports under the Presidency is N5 billion and the money was taken out of it so no need to return it,” he said.
The committee advised the NFF, instead, to use the money accrued from FIFA to cater for the federation’s programs in 2015. It added that based on this, it would cut fresh monies to NFF in its 2015 budget.
“The ruling of the house of representative was that the money kept by the NFF should be used for the 2015 affairs,” Mr. Gaiya said.
“Work with the $8.5million and break it down and let’s look at it and pass it so it can be captured in the 2015 budget appropriation. Write the parliament, copy the senate committee chairman that the ruling was that the money shouldn’t be seen as a loan, nobody should pay back because it has been expended.”
Contrary to what the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, told PREMIUM TIMES in an earlier interview that about $3million of the FIFA money had gone to the government, he told the house committee that the money was being kept somewhere safe, waiting for directives from President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The NFF got $1.5m for qualifiers and pre-World Cup preparations,” Mr. Pinnick explained. “FIFA gave Nigeria more money for making it to the group stage. After, the NFF got $8.5 million. The finance committee sat to look into the debt of the Federation; quality preps means hotel, a bill of over N300million. $3.6 million was given by the government to the federation because there were issues concerning the players. The first thing I did was to appeal to the (executives) to return the money. The money is still intact but it would have gone straight but we want to do it through due process.”