World football governing body, FIFA, yesterday, fined an N64 million (150, 000 Swiss francs) fine on Nigeria for crowd disturbances as a result of the Super Eagles’ inability to beat Ghana and qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
The Super Eagles on March 29, 2022, managed to hold the Black Stars to a 1-1 draw at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, thereby losing the bid to join the Qatar 2022 list to the Ghanaians.
To express their anger and disappointment over their team’s poor play, football fans at the stadium went berserk, damaging everything in sight.
At the end of the rampage, one CAF official from Zambia, Dr. Joseph Kabungo, who worked as a doping doctor, was confirmed dead from suspected cardiac arrest.
The FIFA disciplinary panel also judged other of similar cases from World Cup qualifying games played since January and gave out several other sanctions and stadium closures.
FIFA sanctioned Senegal N75 million (175 Swiss francs) for fan disorder, including shining laser pointers at Egypt star Mohamed Salah, in the penalty shootout that resulted to their Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier in Dakar.
Salah’s face was a blur of vivid green light when he was about to take his penalty shot, which he kicked over the bar. Senegal went on to win the shootout in Dakar in March with Salah’s Liverpool teammate Sadio Mané scoring the decisive spot-kick.
FIFA stated that its disciplinary committee also considered a pitch invasion by Senegal fans, an offensive banner and the national federation’s “failure to ensure that law and order are maintained in the stadium.”
Senegal was also directed to play a future competitive game in an empty stadium.
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FIFA enforced fines of 125,000 Swiss francs ($128,000) on Congo and 100,000 Swiss francs ($103,000) on Lebanon in related cases at games against Morocco and Syria, respectively. Both got one-game stadium closures.
Discrimination by fans of Chile and Colombia at their home games, plus other offenses, amounted to a total fines of 95,000 Swiss francs ($98,000) and 55,000 Swiss francs ($56,500), respectively.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has agreed to use the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, for Nigeria’s Côte d’Ivoire 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone.
In a letter sent to Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Sunday, CAF gave the approval for the stadium to be used for the 2023 AFCON qualifier.
This approval puts to end rumours that the edifice will be prohibited from hosting international matches as a result of the berserk that followed the second leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Ghana.
FIFA, however, ordered that the Nigeria versus Sierra Leone game would be played behind closed doors.