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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Adamu seeks Fifa rethink
Farayi Mungazi
BBC Sport

Amos Adamu, Fifa executive committee member
Amos Adamu says Fifa is not anti-government
Nigeria's Amos Adamu has set himself an audacious target of changing Fifa's attitude towards government involvement in football affairs.

The latest recruit to the world body's 24-man executive committee told BBC Sport that "my friends at Fifa must be educated on the role that governments play in Africa".

The Zurich-based world body takes a dim view of government interference in football affairs.

Fifa has over the years clashed with politicians across the continent over the issue, most notably in Guinea, Nigeria, Kenya and Malawi.

But Adamu feels Fifa's resolute insistence on the independence of football associations and their decision-making processes does not take into account the reality on the ground in Africa.

"Fifa must know that 99% of football associations in Africa depend on their governments for survival," said Adamu, who is also a Caf executive committee member.

I believe in accountability and nobody can blackmail me into doing what's wrong
Amos Adamu
"Therefore, if football is to develop in Africa, there must be a working relationship between governments and football administrators.

"I'm sure Fifa is not anti-government so somebody must tell them that each time African teams want to travel, they ask government for money and they must be held to account.

Adamu, by far the most visible - and controversial - of sports administrators in Nigeria, concedes that his call for a Fifa rethink will court controversy.

"I know some won't like me for saying it but I'm not calling for governments to control football.

"Why are we deceiving ourselves by saying governments must not be involved when they have all the resources?"

Adamu also threw the gauntlet at his critics in Nigeria, asserting that "their efforts to malign me" would not succeed.

"I know that I'm a very controversial figure in Nigeria but most of my critics are generally anti-establishment and don't like anyone who works for the government.

"As Director of Sport, my job is to implement government policy and there are many who don't like it when I insist on doing things by the book."

Asked how he proposed to convince a sceptical public that he had not bribed his way to Fifa, Adamu told BBC Sport that "corrupt people go to jail, not Fifa".

"I believe in accountability and nobody can blackmail me into doing what's wrong," Adamu said.

"A lot of people want you to do what's wrong and if you refuse to comply, they go out and scandalise you but truth is always constant."

SEE ALSO
Adamu joins Fifa executive
23 Aug 06 |  African


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