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Nigeria govt investigates player bonus dispute

July 8, 2013

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s sports ministry has set up a panel to investigate the player bonus row that almost caused chaos at the Confederations Cup when the African champion’s squad initially refused to leave a hotel to travel to Brazil.

The ministry said the six-member panel will begin work on Thursday and report back within two weeks.

The Nigerian players refused to go to the Confederations Cup last month after their bonuses for World Cup qualifying were reduced by the federation from $10,000 for a win and $5,000 for a draw to $5,000 and $2,500.

The sports ministry intervened and made extra money available, eventually allowing the squad to travel to Brazil — where it arrived just in time for its opening game.

One of the panel’s objectives will be to develop a code of conduct, the ministry said, after players said they wouldn’t leave a hotel in Namibia following a World Cup qualifier there and begin the trip to Brazil until the dispute was resolved.

The Nigerian squad arrived in Brazil two days late and only around 36 hours before its opening game against Tahiti.

The bonus row continues to unsettle this year’s African Cup of Nations winner, which also faces a crucial World Cup qualifying game at home to Malawi in September, when it needs at least a draw to qualify for the final playoffs for Brazil 2014.

The investigating panel is made up of football officials, reporters and a former national team player and was formed over the weekend by Nigerian sports minister Bolaji Abdullahi.

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