Pinnick is Match Commissioner for England vs Belgium

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By Femi Solaja

Embattled President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, will be on duty again on Saturday afternoon as the Match Commissioner in-charge of the FIFA 2018 World Cup Third Place Match between England and Belgium at the Zenit Arena, St Petersburg Stadium, Russia.

The highly rated loser’s final between the two European giants leaves the two countries that were in the same group contesting for the bronze medal to restore their respective country’s pride.

The member of the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions was earlier on duty as Match Commissioner for the group matches between Tunisia and Panama, and Portugal versus Iran in Saransk. Pinnick, later took charge as Match Commissioner of the Round of 16 encounter that pitched Sweden against Switzerland at Saint Petersburg on July 2.

The former Chairman of Delta Sports Commission was also in charge as the Match Commissioner in the quarter final clash between France and Uruguay at the Nizhny Novgorod Arena.  He was again called to duty for the first semi-final match, at Saint Petersburg’s Zenit Arena on 10th July.

Back home in Nigeria, Pinnick’s presidency of the NFF is being threatened by a directive issued by Sports Minister Solomon Dalung that Pinnick and his NFF board should vacate the Glass House in Abuja following a judgment of the Supreme Court of April 27, 2018, which restored the orders of the Federal High Court, setting aside the September 30, 2014, election in Warri that brought Pinnick to office.

Dalung had interpreted the court judgement to mean an order to reinstate Chris Giwa, who purportedly won the parallel election held on August 26, 2014 in Abuja. 

FIFA has however refused to recognise Giwa as president of the football association.   FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, on Friday in Moscow  said Pinnick was the elected President of NFF and warned that Nigeria may be banned if government continues to interfere with football administration.