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Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Nigeria in U-17 World Cup U-turn

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua
President Umaru Yar'Adua has changed his mind on funding the tournament
Nigeria has reversed its decision to withdraw from hosting next year's Under-17 World Cup.

The country had pulled out of staging the event last week after the government said that it was not its priority to provide the funding needed.

However, following a drastic cut in the estimated cost of hosting the event, President Umaru Yar'Adua has after all decided to give it his backing.

"After due consideration with the global soccer body, the president has approved that the sum of 9bn naira ($76m) be included in the 2009 budget for the hosting of the under-17 World Cup," presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi said.

"The organisation is to be under the supervision of the vice-president directly."

Fifa and the Nigerian private sector will also contribute to the event's costs, the president's spokesman said.

The local organising committee had originally proposed a 37 billion naira ($314 million) budget, which the government rejected.

The decision caused huge controversy within Nigeria, with many Nigerians arguing it was an embarrassment for the country, while others argued the budget was too high and could be better used for other necessities.

Nigerian newspapers had speculated that Fifa might impose sanctions because of the withdrawal.

Government and football officials had travelled to the Fifa headquarters in Zurich last week in an effort to break the deadlock.

Nigeria has already successfully hosted a major international football tournament - the Under-21 youth championship in 1999.

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see also
Fifa confirms Nigeria decision
25 Oct 08 |  African
Nigeria gives up under-17 event
23 Oct 08 |  African
Nigeria U-17 World Cup in doubt
22 Oct 08 |  African
Fifa happy with Nigeria progress
13 Jun 08 |  African

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