Teams in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) would soon be expected to “attract” a reasonable number of fans to stadia, as part of its registration criterion.
The League Management Company (LMC) the body in-charge of Nigeria’s top flight football, has reiterated its intent toward raising football standard in the country to the level attainable in developed league structures the world over.
Speaking in an interview conducted for Supersport TV weekly football bulletin, ‘Naija Made’, chairman of the LMC, Hon. Nduka Irabor, says clubs are expected to tender binding documents which serves as a guarantee for full access to stadium facilities before kick-off of the league season, while frowning at actions which jeopardises hosting of matches on official matchdays.
“Clubs are to show written evidence of lease of stadium granting unfettered access to the facility,” Irabor told Supersport’s Naija Made.
“If we have this guarantee and a club fails to host a game because maybe, the stadium owner, in most cases, the State Government, like a case w here the Governor was hosting a novelty match, we will sanction the club appropriately.”
On the issue of match attendance, which has denied the Nigeria League every opportunity to realise its real value in terms of income generation and sponsorship, the LMC boss says each club would henceforth be charged to provide elaborate plans towards improving the fan base of the Glo Premier League.
“In the next licensing round, clubs will be expected to provide Business Plans and we will also get to the point when we will insist on clubs attracting a minimum number of fans to watch games, failing which the club will not be registered,” he added.
One of the objective of the sporting criteria in the club Licencing Regulation is the investment in quality-driven youth development programmes as well as fair-play on and off the pitch.
Nduka further rebuked certain practices in several clubs, where the age grade of the youth teams (if any) is far beyond its ‘legal entity’ of its ‘affiliated entity’.
He said: “The Licencing Regulation designed by Fifa, adopted by Caf and NFF specifies that clubs must have youth teams structured by age groups and not the situation where old men of over 27 years are presented as feeder teams.
“The proper Youth team will have kids under 18 and they will be paid as amateurs until they graduate to the senior team.”