ZURICH: Nigeria have been penalised with the loss of two points for fielding an ineligible player in a World Cup qualifying tie but tjhis has not affected their appearance in Russia at next year’s finals.
The Green Eagles, who had already qualified for the finals, drew 1-1 but FIFA awarded the match to Algeria by a 3-0 scoreline after the Super Eagles fielded the ineligible Abdullahi Shehu who had failed to serve a one-match ban for accumulated yellow cards.
A FIFA statement said: “This sanction bears no impact on the final result of the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup since Nigeria had already qualified (and Algeria were eliminated) before the match took place.”
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said on Twitter that it accepted the decision, adding: “The NFF president (Amaju Pinnick) has directed that an internal inquiry be instituted immediately and persons found culpable be dealt with.”
Nigeria, who topped African Group B, finished on 12 points instead of 14, four clear of second-placed Zambia. Algeria still came bottom of the standings.
Nigeria will face Iceland, Croatia and Argentina in their World Cup group in Russia.
East Timor had forfeited seven of the 10 games they played in the World Cup qualifiers for fielding nine players who were ineligible because of nationality.
This was based on a decision previously taken by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) which has annulled 29 matches involving East Timor and barred the team from the 2023 Asian Cup. The nine players were all born in Brazil.