Soccer's world governing body FIFA has said it may have to ditch Nigeria as host to this fall's Under-17 World Cup due to a serious lack of preparation.
"FIFA's executive committee will have to decide next month if it wishes to carry on with Nigeria or move the tournament elsewhere," spokesman Emmanuel Marades told Reuters during a week-long inspection of the country by FIFA officials. "Of the five sites we have visited so far, we have seen only one that is ready and one that is halfway-ready."
"Abuja, the capital, would be ready to host the competition tomorrow," said Marades, "and the pitch is ready at the stadium in Ijebu-Ode, but the rest is a big disappointment." The FIFA delegation will prepare a report to help the executive committee select six cities -- out of nine proposals -- to host matches at the Oct. 24-Nov. 15 tournament.
"Various governors have assured us that the necessary work will begin once FIFA has chosen the six venues so that leaves us with a deadline of the end of March more or less for that to happen," Marades said. "Knowing how things work here I would say that is not impossible -- but it would be something of a miracle."