Nigerian goverment refuses to fund 2009 Under-17 World Cup

Nigeria may be forced to quit as hosts of the 2009 Under-17 World Cup, after the country’s government said it cannot afford to provide the money needed to stage the competition.

The Nigerian government decided that the $30 million required was not seen as a priority. Nigeria President Umaru Yar’Adua told his cabinet last week that he is not convinced that hosting the tournament in November of next year will help develop the country’s sports. Yar’Adua said Nigeria faced more pressing budgetary needs and told the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the tournament to turn to the private sector for most of its funding.

LOC official Tijani Ahmed Shuaibu said his organisation would discuss the budget with Fifa:

“Most international competitions run on money from private companies with the government only providing the infrastructure like stadiums. Nigeria’s case should not be different.”

$30 million isn’t that much considering that FIFA raked in $2 billion in revenues from the 2006 World Cup, are set to rake in at least the same from the 2010 World Cup and have considerable funds earmarked for competitions around the world. However, outside the World Cup proper the youth World Cups are more for prestige than for money-spinning (as the Nigerian president implied) so FIFA could, if they chose, simply shift the U-17 World Cup to a different nation who are looking for that extra prestige bump and have money to spare.

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