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Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Sunday, 14 June 2009 17:09 UK

Nigeria U-17 given Fifa approval

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner
FIFA vice-president Jack Warner has given Nigeria his vote of confidence

A delegation of Fifa officials has expressed satisfaction with the Nigerian government's commitment, after visiting the country ahead of the Under-17 World Cup, scheduled for October.

Football's world governing body said it is encouraged by the written assurance given by the federal government that facilities for the 2009 tournament will be ready by the end of July.

Back in May, Fifa vice-president Jack Warner had warned Nigeria that it risked losing out on hosting the event after several cities failed to prove their suitability to stage matches.

But after a closed door meeting in the capital Abuja, Warner and his team got the required guarantees from Nigeria's vice president Dr Jonathan Goodluck.

"We are happy that the Nigerian government has given us the written assurance and guarantee we asked for," Jack Warner told a handful of journalist at the presidential villa in Abuja on Saturday.

"Based on what I have seen and heard, so much has been done across the states designated to host.

We now look forward to positive things ahead

Fifa vice-president Jack Warner

"We thank the Nigerian government for their support and both [host cities] Warri and Kaduna for the improvement since our last visit."

Warner has, however, moved the final inspection of venues and facilities for the tournament forward.

"The final inspection exercise will now take place on 26 and 27 July," Warner added.

"Hopefully this will coincide with the draws for the tournament proper. So we now look forward to positive things ahead."

Nigeria, despite being the reigning champions, only qualified for the event by virtue of being the hosts.

The build-up to the tournament has been beset with delays and difficulties.

Nigeria formally withdrew from holding the tournament at one stage after the government said hosting the event was not a priority.

They were persuaded to go back on the decision after the intervention of Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

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see also
Fifa abandons Warri visit
18 May 09 |  African
Nigeria in U-17 World Cup U-turn
29 Oct 08 |  African
Nigeria U-17 World Cup in doubt
22 Oct 08 |  African
Fifa happy with Nigeria progress
13 Jun 08 |  African
Nigeria will act on Fifa warnings
21 Feb 08 |  African

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