What's buzzing:

FIFA suspends Nigeria for government interference

AP - Sports

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- FIFA has suspended Nigeria from international competition after football leaders were fired by the government following the team's World Cup exit amid a dispute over player bonuses.

The suspension took effect immediately on Wednesday, with Nigerian teams and officials barred from international matches and meetings.

FIFA has set a July 15 deadline to resolve the problem, or Nigeria faces exclusion from the Under-20 Women's World Cup that starts in August in Canada.

Nigeria's government ousted the football federation leadership and arrested its president Aminu Maigari after he returned from Brazil last week. The government blamed officials for embarrassing the country by not settling the dispute of player payments.

FIFA rules protect its 209 member federations from influence by third parties, including politicians.

The Nigerian government has issued a legal order for the sports ministry to appoint new federation leaders.

''The suspension will be lifted once the court actions have been withdrawn,'' FIFA said.

Nigeria advanced from its group for the first time since the 1998 World Cup, but lost 2-0 to France in the round of 16. Before that game, players rebelled against the federation after not receiving their money for reaching the knockout stage.

Nigeria is also scheduled to begin defending its African Cup of Nations title when qualifying matches start in September. The tournament kicks off next January in Morocco.

Nigeria was also temporarily banned by FIFA after the 2010 World Cup when the country's president Goodluck Jonathan tried to withdraw the team from international competition until it improved.

View Comments (11)
  • Juve near title after dispatching Lazio

    Juve near title after dispatching Lazio

    By Jacopo Lamonaco ROME (Reuters) - Juventus defeated second-placed Lazio 2-0 at home on Saturday to take another huge step towards their fourth straight Serie A title and boost their confidence for Wednesday's crunch Champions League clash in … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 50 minutes ago
  • Messi scores 400th goal for Barcelona in 2-0 win vs Valencia

    Messi scores 400th goal for Barcelona in 2-0 win vs Valencia

    Lionel Messi set up Luis Suarez's first-minute opener then notched his 400th goal for Barcelona in stoppage time to give the Spanish league leaders a hard-fought 2-0 win over Valencia on Saturday. The 27-year-old Argentine is the all-time leading … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 52 minutes ago
  • Messi's 400th goal lifts Barca, win for Real

    Messi's 400th goal lifts Barca, win for Real

    By Tim Hanlon BARCELONA(Reuters) - Lionel Messi hit his 400th goal for La Liga leaders Barcelona deep into stoppage time to seal a 2-0 win over Valencia on Saturday while Real Madrid maintained their pursuit by defeating Malaga 3-1. Barca have 78 … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 52 minutes ago
  • Runaway Serie A leader Juventus beats 2nd-place Lazio 2-0

    Runaway Serie A leader Juventus beats 2nd-place Lazio 2-0

    Runaway leader Juventus took another important step towards the Serie A title as it eased to a 2-0 win over second-place Lazio on Saturday. Carlos Tevez scored a league-leading 18th goal, and Leonardo Bonucci added the second within 29 minutes at … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 56 minutes ago
  • Wenger's joy after 'lucky' Arsenal reach FA Cup final

    By Toby Davis LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger conceded luck played a big part in deciding Saturday's FA Cup semi-final after 120 minutes against a Reading outfit fuelled with "ready to die" resilience. Few predicted the … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 41 minutes ago