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GTI/IMC projects N10m monthly salary for Nigerian league players

By Christian Okpara
29 March 2023   |   2:25 am
Football is big business, which rewards stakeholders well if it is built as profit-generating entity, officials of GTI and the Interim Management Committee (IMC) have said.

NPFL winner to get N100m

Football is big business, which rewards stakeholders well if it is built as profit-generating entity, officials of GTI and the Interim Management Committee (IMC) have said.

Assets management outfit, GTI Group, are strategic partners to the IMC, and according to the officials, the mission is to grow the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) into a money yielding asset comparable to what the English Premier League and America’s basketball league (NBA) are doing for their players, managers and other stakeholders.

According to the group, Nigerian players, coaches and officials would start earning as much money as their foreign counterparts when the current growth path starts yielding the expected dividend within the next 10 years.

Speaking in Lagos, yesterday, GTI’s Nelson Ine, who is driving the partnership with the IMC, said the target is to grow the NPFL to such a height that it would start attracting players from Europe and the Americas to the country.

He explained: “GTI entered a strategic partnership with the IMC out of the need for a sustainable growth of the NPFL. We are looking at the NPFL as an asset that can yield money just like all other sports assets across the world. It is a national asset that all Nigerians can invest in through the vehicle of The Nigerian Football Fund (TNFF).”

Drawing from the nation’s youth population estimated to be over 140 million, Ine said Nigeria has a strong comparative advantage arising from the natural sporting skills of the youth, which could be honed to yield enormous resources for the country.

He said TNFF’s intervention in the league has already started bearing fruits in the 10-week old 2022/23 season, adding that the immediate impact is regular payment of referees’ indemnity to enhance good officiating.

“We have also started production and broadcast of star matches and ensured effective management of the IMC to bring order and discipline to the league.

“Competitive balance among the football clubs has been improved such that teams now enter games without fear of intimidation or being attacked by hooligans. Confidence has been restored to the league,” he said.

Ine said apart from players earning as much as N10 million within the next 10 years, there would be massive infrastructural development across the country in the same period, just as the league and clubs’ revenues would go up.

He added: “More fans are projected to watch NPFL matches live and via television within the next 10 years. Our expectation is that the NPFL would be well known within the global village such that foreign investors would scramble to invest in the asset.”

Also speaking at the event, IMC Chairman, Gbenga Elegbeleye, said the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the league body’s partnership with GTI was borne out of a genuine need to grow the NPFL into a lucrative business that would be beneficial to all.

To buttress his point, Elegbeleye said: “When we came in, we discovered that the referees were owed indemnities for three years and we set about clearing the debts so that they would help us do the right things.

“We improved security at match venues and started a system that deducted points from clubs, whose fans beat referees or disrupted games. Because we deviated from the usual fines and banishment of clubs, we have restored sanity to the competition, as no club wants to lose points because of its fans’ bad behaviour.

“The return of the league to television and other broadcast platforms is a product of the partnership with GTI. We are working to ensure that soon, more matches would be broadcast on television.”

He revealed that the winner of the NPFL will earn N100 million, while other participants will get various amounts of money.

“We came on board less than four months ago and at the beginning of the 2022/23 season, GTI gave us N200 million, which we shared among the clubs to prepare for the competition.

“In the next few weeks and months, we will open more windows of investment and support for the league.

“I need to clarify that GTI is not the title sponsor of the league. Rather, it is an investment-banking outfit helping the league to grow in size and resources.

“The objective is to ensure that our best players remain in the local league and form the bulk of the national team.”

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