Nigerian lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill amending the way the country’s football association is run, which could reduce the number of times the African champions fall foul of world governing body FIFA.
The upper house of parliament, the Senate, voted to change the decree that governs the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) that effectively makes it an autonomous branch of the executive.
The bill now legalises the NFF as a statutory body in line with FIFA’s own statutes and disallows legal action on football matters in the civil courts.
Nigeria has repeatedly clashed with football’s world governing body since the end of the World Cup finals in Brazil.
In July, FIFA slapped a nine-day international ban on the country after a court in the central city of Jos sacked then-NFF president Aminu Maigari and his executive committee.
Nigeria’s sports minister then appointed a civil servant to run the football body, leading to charges of direct government interference.
The decisions were later reversed and the ban lifted but late last month, a judge overturned another case that voided the September 30 NFF elections that had again prompted a FIFA threat to ban Nigeria.
FIFA has also warned the NFF about the running of its internal elections, claiming they were in contravention of its rules and regulations.
The NFF is still largely reliant on government funding for its 1.5 billion naira ($8.8 million, 7.0 million euro) annual budget. Some 90 percent comes from the state.