Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan dropped a threat Monday to suspend the national soccer team because of its poor World Cup showing and corruption allegations.
In a statement, Jonathan's office said the decision came after a meeting Monday with the Nigeria Football Federation. The federation's executive committee fired the organization's president and vice-president Sunday in an effort to appease Jonathan.
The federation "assured the president of their commitment to evolving an enduring football development program, and grow a new senior national team that will bring glory, rather than consistent embarrassment to Nigeria on the world stage," the statement read.
FIFA did not immediately confirm the development after it had set a deadline for the Nigerian government to withdraw the threat by 6 p.m. local time.
FIFA intended to suspend Nigeria from world football if the threat wasn't revoked because its rules forbid governments to interfere in soccer's affairs.
A presidential spokesman announced Wednesday that Jonathan wanted the national team suspended for two years to allow Nigerian football to be restructured, after it left the World Cup with just one point from three matches.
Earlier on Monday, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said at a news conference the sport's governing body has taken "all adequate steps" to resolve the dispute.
"We do hope that everything comes back to normal," Blatter said.
FIFA dispatched Nigeria's most senior soccer official — Amos Adamu, a member of its 24-man ruling executive -- to mediate with the government.
A FIFA suspension would have stopped Nigerian club teams, referees and officials from taking part in international soccer.
Nigeria is due to send a women's under-20 team to its World Cup, which kicks off next week in Germany.
Nigerian club Heartland also stood to lose its place in the African Champions League if it could not fulfil a home fixture against Egypt's Al-Ahly scheduled next week.
The dispute between Nigeria and FIFA flared last week after the national team returned from South Africa.
Nigeria earned a 2-2 tie with South Korea in its final game. It lost to Argentina 1-0 in its Group B opener and fell to Greece 2-1 in a game that turned on the first-half dismissal of midfielder Sani Kaita.
The suspension threat by Nigeria's government also followed corruption allegations that plagued the team before the World Cup. Presidential spokesman Ima Niboro said last Wednesday that all funds directed toward the Nigeria Football Federation would be examined and "all those found wanting will be sanctioned."
FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot could not confirm Monday if Nigeria's federation had yet been paid any of the US$8 million prize money it is due from FIFA for taking part in the World Cup.
On Sunday, the federation fired its president and vice-president in an effort to convince the Nigerian state president to drop the suspension threat.
Nigeria has previously drawn the ire of international soccer authorities. In January 1996, the Confederation of African Football suspended Nigeria from two African Cup of Nation tournaments after military dictator Sani Abacha withdrew the squad from playing. Nigeria had won the 1994 competition.
At the time, Abacha claimed he pulled the team from the Johannesburg-hosted tournament out of security concerns. However, it likely had more to do with Abacha's anger over then-South African President Nelson Mandela urging international sanctions be levelled against Nigeria after the dictator's regime executed nine activists from the oil-rich Niger Delta.