Nigeria yellow carded over U17 World Cup venue readiness
Nigeria have been given a one-month grace period to improve the readiness of four venues before FIFA, world soccer's governing body, will approve the country for hosting this year's U17 World Cup.
FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, the leader of a FIFA inspection team to Nigeria ahead of this year's World Under-17 Championship, said Thursday that the west African nation was still not prepared to stage the October 24-November 15 tournament.
Warner said that only the match venues in Abuja and Lagos were set for the tournament, adding that venues in Kano, Calabar, Enugu and Ijebu Ode now had a grace period of one month to be brought up to scratch.
The oil-rich city of Warri has already been ruled out of staging the tournament because of security concerns as it is situated within the restive Niger Delta region of the country.
Warner said he was disapppointed that despite several assurances from top government officials that the country will be ready to host the biennial competition, there were still many aspects still unattended to.
"Frankly, from an objective point of view, Nigeria is not ready to host the tournament," Warner told a press conference here.
"But I am a man who has always believed in Nigeria and there have been some signs of hope and commitment.
"Based on those signs of hope I will propose to the FIFA Executive Committee when they meet on 30-31 May in Nassau that we give Nigeria a one month 'grace period' for six venues to build on the signs of hope and commitment we have seen on this trip and fulfil all the necessary requirements.
"Warner warned that Nigeria would risk being stripped of the tournament should there not be a drastic improvement.
"When the 'grace period' expires, FIFA will return to visit the venues and if each and every one of them does not reach the 100 percent readiness level that we expect, then FIFA will withdraw the tournament hosting rights from Nigeria and go to another country."
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
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