Supreme Court Rules on Giwa, Pinnick Thursday


Duro Ikhazuagbe

Nigeria’s hope of participating in the FIFA World Cup in Russia hangs in the balance as football fans in the country await Supreme Court ruling on the Chris Giwa versus Amaju Pinnick case tomorrow.

Despite the Super Eagles grabbing the Group B ticket to Russia 2018 ahead of Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia after a grueling qualifying round, the judgment of the apex court in the land may signify a torrent of events that may ultimately stop John Mikel Obi and his colleagues from making the trip to the global football summit.

Giwa who lost out at the Appeal Court as well as in the globally acclaimed Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Zurich, Switzerland had dragged the current board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to the Supreme Court to set aside the verdict of the lower court after they had won at the High Court.

Giwa is claiming that the mandate given to him and his factional board members at the Chida Hotel, Abuja by the Congress of the NFF in August 2014 was sacrosanct.

He is also insisting that the Warri election that brought in the Pinnick board was held in defiance of a High Court order.

Giwa wants the Supreme Court to uphold the Chida Hotel election as the defendants cannot gain from disobedience of a court order.

However, the Pinnick group who are the defendants in this case have held on to FIFA Statutes to argue its case, telling the Supreme Court in their submission that football matters must not be adjudicated in the ordinary court, insisting that the plaintiffs have been banned by the world football ruling body, FIFA.

The apex court is to decide on Thursday whether to uphold the verdict of Justice Joseph Tur of the Appeal Court in his judgment of 2016 when he held that the discontinuation of the cases on October 30, 2014, which was affirmed by the court stands.

FIFA which threatened Nigeria with a ban when the case first came up and which led to its withdrawal by the applicants, may wield the big stick again with Nigeria’s participation at the World Cup in Russia its immediate and biggest casualty.

The Super Eagles are scheduled to take on Croatia in their first match at the 21st FIFA World Cup finals at the Kaliningrad Stadium on Saturday, 16th June before games against Iceland (Volgograd; 22nd June) and Argentina (Saint Petersburg; 26th June) in Group D.