Vogts in Nigeria exit after fresh row

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The Independent Online

Berti Vogts has resigned as Nigeria national team coach with immediate effect. The 61-year-old, who guided Germany to victory in the 1996 European Championship, had been heavily criticised in Nigeria following their African Nations Cup quarter-final defeat to hosts Ghana.

In a statement, Vogts criticised the Nigerian Football Association for its lack of support for his training methods in the face of heavy criticism from the country's media.

"The actions and behaviour of the Nigerian Football Association during and after the African Nations Cup have destroyed all trust between the two parties and further cooperation is impossible," Vogts' lawyer, Stefan von Moers, said.

Many expected the Nigerian Football Association to fire Vogts after the team's unconvincing performance in the tournament.

Nigerian media – and the Nigeria midfielder Sunday Oliseh – criticised Vogts for putting together an all-German training team, including former Germany players Steffen Freund and Uli Stein.

"If white journalists behaved this way towards a black trainer, I think people would call it racism," SID, the German news agency, reported Vogts as saying after their 2-0 win over Benin on 29 January.

Vogts, who took over the job last March, emphasised that "working with the team and players was a great pleasure" and said he particularly regrets he "cannot continue this cooperation and the building of a new powerful Nigerian national team".

Vogts' contract with Nigeria was due to run until the end of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where costs continue to rise. That country's finance minister, Trevor Manuel, has allocated an additional 3.2 billion rand (£208m) to venues and transportation for the World Cup.

The government had previously allocated 19.4bn rand to build and upgrade grounds and improve road, rail and air links to host the world's most watched sporting event. "That was the best estimate at the time," Malcolm Simpson, a deputy director-general at the National Treasury, said. "A significant amount of the costs were provisional," he said and had risen since construction contracts were concluded in 2006.

Last November, the deputy finance minister, Jabu Moleketi, said initial estimates showed that the budget for the venues and transportation systems could be exceeded by between 2.8 billion rand and 3.4 billion rand. Strikes at several grounds delayed construction and pushed up costs, while steel and cement prices had risen.

Manuel also allocated an additional 684 million rand to nine host cities to supplement their operating budgets for the World Cup and the Confederations Cup, scheduled for next year. A further 300 million rand will be spent on communications and technology infrastructure for the event.

In France, Valenciennes have asked for a Ligue 1 defeat by Metz to be replayed after their captain, Abdeslam Ouaddou, alleged that he had been racially abused.

Ouaddou, a Morocco defender, has filed a complaint with French legal authorities after the incident in last Saturday's 2-1 defeat to bottom club Metz.

"I want this game to be replayed," the Valenciennes chairman, Francis Decourriere, told reporters yesterday. "I wrote a letter to the president of the Republic, the French Olympic Committee, the Human Rights League and the Football League," he added. "I would also like this game to be played in front of children from Valenciennes and Metz."

An angry Ouaddou walked towards the stands at half-time to remonstrate with a Metz spectator who had repeatedly insulted the player, Valenciennes said in a statement erlier this week.

The League's disciplinary committee is due to meet today to investigate the incident and study the referee's report.

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