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    Friday, August 11, 2023

    Nigerians Knock FIFA Over James’ Two-Game Ban

    Nigerian football enthusiasts say they perceive bias on the ruling of FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee after it awarded England’s Lauren James a two-game ban as a result of her red card against Nigeria in the round of 16 of the ongoing Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

    The England forward was given the marching orders in the 87th minute of the encounter after stamping on defender Michelle Alozie. England won the game 4-2 on penalties and booked a quarter-final clash against Colombia on Saturday.

    While it was confirmed that she would miss the quarter-final clash, the Lionesses have been nervously waiting to know if they would get her services for the remainder of the competition.

    In its ruling, FIFA added another game ban, meaning she will miss the semi-finals if England get there.

    The decision, however, didn’t go down well with some Nigerians, who labelled it double standard, as the country also missed the services of Deborah Abiodun — throughout their stay in Down Under — to a three-game suspension after she was also given a straight red card in Nigeria’s opening game against Canada.

    Veteran Sportscaster Deji Omotoyinbo said FIFA’s explanation for the two acts didn’t add up.

    “FIFA says Lauren James’ offence is ‘serious foul play’ and not ‘violent conduct’ so she gets a two-match ban. So, Deborah Abiodun’s red was violent conduct? James’ offence was deliberate and violent. Abiodun’s was a misplaced tackle. Laughable double standard,” he said.

    Veteran sports journalist, Pius Ayinor, also condemned the decision.

    “Shameful double standard from FIFA. I’m really baffled and appalled by such a double-faced decision in the same competition. Just swap their offences for a test and Abiodun will get a five-match ban. Sad.”

    A fan, Adeola Omole, also called out the world football governing body for explanation.

    “This is what I’ve been waiting for, how could FIFA hammer Deborah for three matches but simply give Lauren two matches? I need a clear explanation. This bias must cease.”

    “Double standard, James’ tackle was cynical and intentional,” another fan with the name Atrium Tech added.

    James is England’s top scorer in the tournament, having scored three goals, as well as assisting three more, in the group stages.

    The Chelsea forward apologised to Alozie on social media after the incident and promised to learn from her mistake, while the Nigerian also asked the England star to be forgiven.

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