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LMC bids to resolve licence issues, says it is legally situated in football laws

By Christian Okpara
14 September 2022   |   4:09 am
The League Management Company (LMC), which has been managing Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), has started moves to resolve issues bordering on its legality and right to continue overseeing the NPFL.

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick (right) and LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko.

The League Management Company (LMC), which has been managing Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), has started moves to resolve issues bordering on its legality and right to continue overseeing the NPFL.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development recently withdrew its recognition of the LMC as operator of the NPFL, saying the body is illegal and has no place in Nigerian football statute.

The ministry advised the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to withdraw the licence given to the LMC to operate the league and in its stead appoint an Interim Management Committee (IMC), which will “include the current Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer to oversee the league until a proper Professional League Board is constituted in accordance with the statutes of the NFF.”

Reacting to the ministry’s decision, yesterday, the LMC in a statement, insisted that it is “legally situated both in Football laws/regulations (NFF and FIFA Statutes) and Nigeria’s corporate laws (CAC Act).”

It urged stakeholders in the league to remain calm while it tries to resolve the issues with the ministry and the NFF.

Then statement reads: “The LMC Ltd wishes to call for calm from all its participating clubs, sponsors and partners and stakeholders, as it will in conjunction with NFF be engaging the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to provide clarifications to ensure all parties are on the same page and keep acting within the realm of its authority.

“Fundamentally, the protection of the integrity of the NPFL, which the LMC Ltd has been toiling over the last decade to build, in spite of the challenges, is most paramount at all times.”

The LMC said it issued the statement “for the sake of good order, stability of the NPFL and the participating clubs, the LMC current and potential sponsors and indeed the entire Nigerian football stakeholders to clarify and set matters straight for the records.”

The company expressed distress at seeing the ministry “coming up with the public statement/position without first engaging the LMC/NFF to discuss any concerns or information regarding the LMC Ltd to hear from the other side and enable it come to a balanced position based on facts and law.”

It added: “It is LMC’s belief that had this simple fundamental procedure and legal step of fair hearing been done, there would have absolutely been no need or basis for the ministry’s position and or statement.”

It claimed there is no court order or proceedings declaring the LMC as illegal, adding, “likewise, there is no challenge in any court to the legal status of LMC.”

The statement insists that the LMC Ltd was “duly and properly formed in 2013 with all due processes adhered to and in line with both Football laws/regulations and Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Laws (Companies and Allied Matters, Act – CAC Act).

“The participating clubs of the NPFL were part and parcel of this processes in line with the stipulations of the NFF Statutes (article 18 of the NFF Statutes).”

The LMC Ltd said it agreed with the NPFL clubs supplementary regulations (governance structure) in accordance with the NFF statutes on September 6, 2013, adding that the same was duly filed at the CAC, which appropriately issued its approval on June 2, 2014.”

The statement clarified that the LMC is not a private body ‘as has been misrepresented,’ adding: “the NFF hold the golden shares in LMC Ltd with specific responsibilities and veto powers on the operations and organisation of the NPFL, while the other shares are held for and on behalf of the NPFL participating clubs.”

The LMC explained that the court judgment, which the ministry hinged its decision to withdraw its licence was a private matter instituted by an individual excluded from the defunct NPL elections, saying it has nothing do with LMC Ltd.

“The LMC Ltd structure was actually endorsed by FIFA, which had reasons to invite the LMC to discuss the process with other jurisdictions.

“Even when the defunct NFL Ltd was declared illegal by the Federal High Court and CAC directed to wind it up in 2012, constructive engagements and consultation took place between NFF and clubs with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development duly briefed to find a road map going forward,” the statement said.

The statement reiterated that it would soon, in conjunction with the NFF, “engage the sports ministry with a view to providing the right perspective to the founding of the LMC Ltd and its operations to bring all parties to the same page.”

It acknowledged “the passion and concerns the sports minister has exhibited over time in trying to push for the development of not only the NPFL but football in Nigeria and believes that with proper engagements the right synergy will be achieved to drive this process forward.”