By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
A group, Forum For Better Organised Nigeria League And Professionally Managed Football Club Sides, has called on the Minister of Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Mr Amaju Pinnick, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Alhaji Muhammad Mamman Nami and all stakeholders to urgently address irregularities in the league.
Coordinator of the forum, Vincent Akinbami sounded the warning at a press briefing at the New Nigerian Newspapers in Kaduna on Thursday February 20, 2020.
“We are therefore calling on the Minister of Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, Nigeria Football Federation President, Mr Amaju Pinnick, the Executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services Alhaji Muhammad Mamman Nami and all stakeholders around the federation to stop the league from kicking off and call a stakeholders meeting for reforms that will include the regulations we have highlighted,” he said.
He said the forum was making the appeal, considering the unprofessional manner Nigeria league has been run over the years and the amateurish nature of acclaimed professional football clubs.
“We have come out to say that things cannot continue like this. We will not fold our arms and continue to see mediocrity in the running of our club sides and management of our league, it will be a shame if we bequeath these bad and unorganized system to the next generation.
“Our so called club owners especially those owned by state government have continue to frustrate rules\ regulations, close doors to introduction of current regulations and use their influence with government and government officials to manipulate the league managers and the other way round,” he said.
He argued that football is still being seen as a recreation by club owners, managers and league managers instead of as a profit maximization venture.
“How a Football club is managed determines whether the clubs win or lose, make profits or losses.
“The world of football has been referred to more and more as an industry in its own right. Its characteristics have been getting closer to those of services or the entertainment business, as people worldwide may choose whether to go to the cinema, an amusement park, or to the stadium to watch a match.
“The ranking of football as a business activity has risen in the economies of those countries where football is promoted as a national sport. In many of these countries, it represents today a large percentage of a nation’s GDP (gross domestic product), because football events also drive a considerable number of other sectors, such as media and different services like catering and transportation,” he said.
He stressed that such irregularities is what prompted them to come up with some regulations that must be in place before they will allow the league to kickoff for 2020/2021 season.
“This regulation is just part of future regulations that will make our league professional as against the amateurish way it is being ran now and also make our clubs to be ran professionally.
“If our call is not adhered to , we will be forced to call the attention of FIFA and CAF to non-adherence to club licensing requirement criteria by our clubs, incite the real actors who suffering ,above all, forcefully stop the league from starting,” he warned.
The group said that part of their grievances which they want to be include absence of transparency and accountability in players transfer system in Nigeria league system.
Others are; referee’s appointment for Nigeria league matches are highly manipulated, all Nigeria professional league side do not meet up with regulatory requirement, based on the fact that they are all limited liability company’s (Requirement to play in the league say’s they must be private limited) and financial reporting (audited financial statement) absent or highly underplayed.
The also pointed out that there are no financial and operational regulations, while those in place are not adhered to, payers welfare inadequate and insisted that the club licensing requirement (5) five criteria put in place by FIFA and CAF are not being met.