The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has dismissed the purported moves by the Club Owners/Managers of teams in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) to sack the League Management Company (LMC), insisting only the federation owns such right.
Last Wednesday (September 30), owners/managers of the 20 NPFL clubs which took part in the out gone season and the four newly promoted clubs, in a meeting with the LMC held in Abuja, contended a new League Board to be formed.
The club owners/managers declared in their communiqué: “The meeting emphasized on the expiration of the tenure of the LMC in line with the terms of reference given to them by the NFF.
“The meeting specifically thanked the chairman and members of the LMC for their efforts in organising the just-concluded league as well as their several innovations and suggestions on the way forward and wished them well in their future endeavours.”
But the leadership of the NFF, yesterday (Thursday), described the actions of the few club owners/managers as shocking and most unfortunate abuse of power it did not have.
As far as the NFF, the supreme football-governing body in Nigeria, is concerned, the LMC remains firmly in place and will have the opportunity to continue its good works for a period to be determined shortly… the NFF on moves by NPFL club owners/managers to sack the LMC.
As for the President of the football federation Aminu Maigari, currently in the United Arab Emirates, where he has been following the ‘Golden Eaglets’s’ progress in the ongoing Fifa U-17 World Cup, the LMC was inaugurated and licenced by the NFF to administer the Glo Premier League on its behalf and, therefore owns the right to make any decision concerning their tenure in charge.
“I am shocked to hear about a meeting of club owners/managers where they reportedly told the LMC to hand over to the Secretariat of the League. That is not within their purview; it is the responsibility of the NFF to determine the fate of the LMC,” Maigari told newsmen from the UAE.
“The LMC has done very well within the past 10 months to reposition the Premier League, and they deserve commendation. The club managers themselves admitted that the LMC has brought several innovations to the running of the League. Why would we want to throw all that away in a hurry?”
Also reacting to the decision of the club owners/managers to terminate the League Board, Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, who doubles as the Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), reechoed the NFF stands on the matter and urged all concerned stakeholders to act in the interest of Nigerian football.
“I have continuously said it that it is very difficult to uproot vested interest, but we are glad with the success the LMC recorded in the past season.
“The LMC is the creation of the NFF, and as they pointed out in their statement this afternoon, it is only the NFF that can determine their tenure. May be the club owners were acting in true faith because they do not know it is not their authority and powers to determine when the LMC tenure will end.
“Now that the NFF has come out to let them know that they do not have the jurisdiction to determine the tenure of the LMC, everyone will go back to his position and we move forward,” the minister noted.
Mallam Abdullahi stressed that he was not aware of any agreement between the NFF and club owners that the LMC will work for only one season.
“The tenure is not a law of the national assembly, it is determined by the NFF, so it is the NFF that can determine whether they want them to continue or not, the decision is theirs, it is not a matter of law. What matters is whether Nigerians are happy with the decision we have made with the LMC. For me, I am happy with the progress we have made with them for the last one year,” concludes Abdullahi.
Meanwhile Nigeria daily news tabloid, This Day, reports that two of the NPFL clubs, Kaduna United and Warri Wolves, have dissociated themselves from the club owners/managers’ decision and are rather interested in the good job the LMC has started.
According to the report: “The Permanent Secretary of the Kaduna State Ministry of Youth and Sports, Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe Musa said in a statement yesterday that Alhaji Sabo Babayaro who represented the state funded Kaduna United FC at the club owners forum had no authority of the state to take such decision as regards the sacking of the LMC.”
Excerpts from This Day Sports and Associated Press was used in this report.