NFF Issues Strong Statement, Indicts FIFA Following Falconet’s Ordeal at Istanbul Airport

NFF Issues Strong Statement, Indicts FIFA Following Falconet’s Ordeal at Istanbul Airport

Babajide Orevba
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:10 PM
  • Falconets were left stranded at the Istanbul Airport in Turkey as they headed home from the U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica
  • Nigerians have blasted the NFF for what many described as a ‘show of shame and ‘national embarrassment’
  • The NFF, however, claimed that it was the world’s football governing body FIFA that booked the girls’ return ticket to Nigeria

The Nigeria Football Federation has claimed that FIFA booked the Falconets’ ticket back to their home country after they crashed out of the U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.

Nigerians were stunned after pictures showing the ladies sleeping at the Istanbul airport went viral, with many condemning the NFF.

The girls were stranded in Turkey as they were made to sleep on the floor and chairs at the airport, days after crashing out of the global showpiece.

Falconets, Istanbul Airport, Costa RIca
Falconets left stranded at Istanbul Airport in Turkey. Photo: @IbiShittu
Source: Getty Images

It was gathered that the Falconets departed Costa Rica on Monday, 22 August, at 6:30 am and were pictured sleeping on the bare floor and chairs at the Istanbul Airport, Guardian Nigeria reports.

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But the NFF seems to shift the blames in a press statement:

“The NFF did not book the team’s tickets from Costa Rica; FIFA did. FIFA also did not envisage the hitches that saw the team delayed for more than three hours in Bogota, and another one hour in Panama. By the time the team got to Istanbul, the flight to Abuja had left.
“Our officials pleaded for compassionate transit visas so as to take the players and officials to a hotel inside the town, but this was not possible as they were informed that Nigeria had been removed from the list of countries whose citizens were issued visa-on-arrival in Turkey.
“The airline then took the team to a sleeping area at the airport and gave them tickets to have meals every five hours.
“This situation has nothing to do with NFF, who had made arrangements to receive the team in Abuja before the complications in travel arrangements.”

NFF boss Amaju Pinnick vows not to seek re-election

Meanwhile, Sports Brief earlier reported that the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) president, Amaju Pinnick, has disclosed that he will not vie for the coveted position for the third time.

Pinnick has finally cleared the air as he declared that he would not be running for a third term after his tenure expires this year.

The former chairman of Delta State Football Association was elected in 2014, and having been re-elected, his second term is billed to end by September 2022.

Babajide Orevba photo
Babajide Orevba
Babajide Orevba is a CAF accredited Nigerian journalist and HOD of the Local Desk with over 10 years of experience in media landscape.He studied NCE Political Science/Social Studies, AOCOED.