Nigerian gov’t seeks to understand U-17 World Cup mess

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Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, the Senate, is to investigate the circumstances behind the embarrassing fiasco that saw the country initially withdraw from hosting next year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup, according to local football website

Though Nigeria has now said it will host the competition, albeit with a leaner budget, the Senate has summoned some of the key players in the saga to appear before its Committee on Sports on Monday.

Those expected to appear include Abdulrahman Gimba, who was recently dropped as Sports Minister, Amos Adamu, Director General of the National Sports Commission, and Mainasara Ilo, who heads the competition’s local organising committee, LOC.

The Committee said it would also use the opportunity to assess the preparations for the Under-17 World Cup.

Last Tuesday, the presidency reversed the decision it took a week earlier not to host the tournament on the basis of its hight hosting price tag of 37 billion naira, or more than US$300 million.

But in reversing that decision, the presidency said the cost of hosting the tournament had been drastically reviewed downwards to 9 billion naira or US$76 million.

It also said that President Umaru Yar’Adua considered appeals made by the global football community and other stakeholders.

The competition is scheduled to be held in several cities across the country from 24 October to 15 November, 2009.

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