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Clubs affirm support for football masterplan, seek minister’s help to restructure league

By Christian Okpara
16 September 2022   |   4:19 am
Chairmen of clubs in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) have urged Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, to help them restructure the league in line with the 10-year Football Development Masterplan recently...

Sunday Dare

Chairmen of clubs in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) have urged Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, to help them restructure the league in line with the 10-year Football Development Masterplan recently released by the Federal Government.

The chairmen under the auspices of Club Owners Association of Nigeria, also urged the minister to help them retrieve some of their rights enshrined in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) statute, which they claim, have been taken away from them.

In a letter addressed to Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, the club chairmen acknowledged that they have been working closely with the League Management Company (LMC), which has been managing the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), adding, however, that seemingly intractable issues have held down the competition.

The letter reads: “The League had flourished for some years, but is presently faced with challenges, ranging from lack of sponsorship, lack of TV coverage, non-payment of match officials’ indemnities, poor infrastructure/facilities, irregular calendar and ineffective implementation of rules and framework, among others.

“Added to the above are problems of betting, match fixing, inducement of referees, poor spectatorship, general insecurity and poor transportation to match venues, non-payment of players’ salaries by some clubs and non-adherence to contractual agreements of coaches and players.”

The club chairmen told the minister that the due to the challenges, the league, ‘which is the bedrock of football in every nation,’ needs restructuring to flourish.

They recommended some measures, which they believe, would help to make the league better.

Among the measures are (1) compelling the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) the Club Owners their rights as enshrined in the Federation’s statutes; (2) allowing the 20 clubs to produce 20 members with voting rights in the NFF congress; (3) chairman of the 20 Premier League clubs should be made NFF’s second vice president as enshrined in the Federation’s statutes; and (4) while the 20 Premier League clubs’ chairmen are made directors of the league, a technocrat should be appointed to run the competition on behalf of the directors.

The clubs also urged the minister to put “the state governors through the rules and framework of the League on strict notice to commence immediate and gradual disengagement from ownerships and control of football clubs to encourage private and community ownership and control.”

The Guardian recalls that the ministry of sports recently withdrew its support for the League Management Company (LMC), citing a recent court declaration of the organisation as illegal.

It advised the NFF to withdraw LMC’s operating licence and set up an interim management committee to oversee the league until a proper professional league board is constituted in accordance with the statutes of the NFF.

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