Knocks for NFF over plan to ban state-owned clubs
Okowa, Adelabu kick
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) came under serious attack yesterday following its plan to ban some clubs currently operating in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and other tiers of nation’s league at the end of the on-going season.
At the end of NFF’s Executive Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the body, among other issues, declared that effective from the end of the current football season, no two clubs under the umbrella of one ‘Holding Company/State Government/Individual Owner shall be eligible to participate in the same League.’
With such declaration, the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF may have concluded plans to ban clubs such as Enyimba of Aba or Abia Warriors, two clubs being financed by the government of Abia State in the NPFL.
In the same way, clubs such as Warri Wolves FC, Delta Force of Asaba, Ika Rangers of Agbor, Delta Stars of Ughelli and Isoko United of Oleh may also fall under the hammer. All the five clubs, as well as Delta Queens FC of Kwale, are sponsored by Delta State government. While Warri Wolves and Delta Force operate in the Nigerian National League (NNL), Delta Stars, Ika Rangers and Isoko United are in the Nationwide Leagues.
Although, 3SC of Ibadan and Crown FC of Ogbomosho currently operate in different league, there is the possibility of the two clubs playing together in the NPFL if Crown gains promotion.
Former Green Eagles winger, Adelabu Adegoke and the Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, Tony Okowa yesterday described the move by the NFF as ‘unwarranted.’
“What message is the NFF trying to give to Nigerians,” Adelabu queried. “To me, this is one of the most stupid ideas to come from the football house. As far as the various clubs follow the rules and regulations governing our league, I don’t see any reason why someone somewhere should make such a move to stop them. The NFF should first of all consider the economic benefits of such clubs to the society. There is no job anywhere, and for some state government to float two or three clubs is a way of creating employment for the jobless youths. If the NFF forced the state government to disband one or two of such clubs, what does they (NFF) expect the players and the officials to do? As I said, this move is unwarranted,” Adelabu said.
Also speaking with The Guardian yesterday, the Delta Sports Commission boss, Tony Okowa said: “I don’t see any reason for such move by the NFF to ban such clubs. In Delta State, we are using the clubs to build football at the grassroots. We also use the clubs to provide employment for the youths.”
Chairman of Abia Warriors FC, Chief Emeka Inyama told The Guardian that he would react at the appropriate time saying: “I want to understand what the NFF is trying to do before I react.”