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Last Updated: Monday, 29 September, 2003, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Nigeria ends World Cup bid
Segun Odegbami
Odegbami confirmed Nigeria's withdrawal
Nigeria has pulled out of the competition to host the 2010 World Cup finals and will now support South Africa's bid.

Segun Odegebami, head of the Nigerian bid committee, said the decision was made at the request of the government.

"It is true that we have dropped the bid," he said.

"The government has spoken and it appears it is the wish of the people as, since we began our efforts to bring the tournament to Nigeria, there has been a lot of criticism."

Nigeria's sports minister Musa Mohammed added: "In the spirit of African brotherhood, and Nigeria, especially with her cordial relationship with South Africa, the federal government has withdrawn from the bid of the 2010 World Cup fiesta and lends its full support to South Africa."

It's great news for South Africa and our bid
South Africa's bid chief Danny Jordaan
Mohammed said Nigeria was already overburdened by other commitments, including the hosting of the All Africa Games from 4-18 October.

The news comes the day before the latest stage of the bidding process, which will take place in Zurich on Tuesday when the African candidates present their proposals to Fifa.

Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia will each make a 30-minute presentation to a panel that includes Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

Fifa have guaranteed that Africa will host soccer's showpiece event for the first time in 2010 as part of a new policy of rotation of the tournament between the continents.

South Africa's bid chief Danny Jordaan welcomed the news.

"It's great news for South Africa and our bid," he said.

"More important than Nigeria backing out is the fact that they have given us their support because they are extremely influential in West Africa and will be able to consolidate a large amount of support behind the South African bid.

"I was surprised that they pulled out because I expected them to be here on Tuesday presenting their bid but I'm delighted that Nigeria will now be behind us."

Nigeria had originally hoped to bid jointly with West African neighbours Benin, Ghana and Togo, but Fifa rejected that move.

South Africa are considered favourites to win the right to host the 2010 tournament.




SEE ALSO
Nigeria 2010 bid on track
03 Sep 03  |  African
Nigeria 'backs' World Cup bid
06 Mar 03  |  African
Odegbami rejects Fifa criticism
19 Mar 03  |  African
Fifa slams Nigeria's 2010 plan
18 Mar 03  |  African



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