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On air: Should governments stay out of football?

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Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 14:03 UK time, Thursday, 1 July 2010

jonathan.jpgFifa has a strict rule that national football associations must be independent of their country's government. So it's no surprise that Fifa's not impressed with these developments in Nigeria. The Super Eagles have been withdrawn from international competition until 2012 and the Football Association has been dissolved.


...Sepp Blatter has warned that the French Football Federation will be kicked out of Fifa if the French government meddles in its affairs. The President of the FFF has resigned, which is seen by many as not unrelated to sports minister Roselyne Bachelot saying such an event was 'unavoidable'.

Not forgetting that Thierry Henry was summoned to see President Sarkozy for a chat about the World Cup debacle.

So when things go really wrong (see Nigeria, France, England, Cameroon and Italy for starters), is it appropriate for governments and leaders to get involved? As national pride and reputation are at skate, isn't this their business? Or is Fifa right to insist that they stay well off the pitch?

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