MORE THAN JUST BREAKING SWEAT:
From the worship of the gods, to the prurient pursuits in the circuses and amphitheatres in ancient Rome, to the Olympian days when it was just enough to take part in a bruising marathon race and be rewarded with a mere frond, sports as we know it today has transformed to, among many other things, a big money-making machine.
THE FOOTBALL PERSPECTIVE:
• Combination of talent, youth, passion, emotion, fans and money
• It is a universal language
• A weapon for war and diplomacy
In view of the broad character of the subject of sports, I have decided to centre this presentation on the management of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), also now known as the Glo Premier League, by the League Management Company Ltd (LMC). This is for the following reasons.
• The NPFL is currently undergoing structural and administrative reforms that I judge to be, not just relevant to the topic at hand, but quite embody the subject as well.
• These reforms derive their relevance to the business at hand on account of their contemporaneity and thus provide me ongoing practical experience to address the topic.
THE PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE AS A CATALYST FOR GROWTH PRESENTED TO THE COMMITTEE FOR SPORTS OF THE SENATE OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT NFA ACT (REPEAL AND RE-ENACTMENT) PUBLIC HEARING ON 23/05/2013 BY HON. NDUKA IRABOR, CHAIRMAN LEAGUE MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED
This presentation, in my judgment, is coming at a most opportune time given the fact that this public hearing in respect of the NFF bill coincides with the reforms in the Nigeria Professional Football League which the League Management Company Ltd (LMC) is currently carrying out under the authority of NFF.
As a necessary backdrop to this presentation, it is important to recapitulate some salient matters regarding the foundation and development of professional football league in Nigeria. The league was established as a professional division in 2006 with the incorporation of Nigeria Football League Limited (NFL). The vision at inception was to create a solid foundation for professional football that is transparently managed, financially robust and resilient in accordance with international rules and best practices of the game of football. It was also anticipated that players remuneration and welfare will be central to the new order and that the clubs will invest in youth and infrastructure development.
We present the compliments of the League Management Company Limited (LMC). We recognize that you are a strategic stakeholder in the development and progress of the Nigeria Professional Football League and thank you for your support and patience thus far with our Elite cadre of the beautiful game.
We humbly call for your support towards revitalizing the business of Football on and off the pitch.
As you may be aware, the spate of difficulties within the Nigeria Football League family and operations culminated in a court judgment that declared the corporate being of the Nigeria Football League illegal.
The summary of the Federal High Court are that:
• The Nigeria Football League Ltd is an illegal body, having been incorporated in contravention of the law, the Court has ordered its winding up.
• Nigeria Premier League (a creation of the illegal NFL) has no corporate personality and is unknown to Nigerian law.
• No aspect of the administration or management of football in Nigeria can be conducted in the names of either NFL or NPL
• The court also declared as illegal the conduct of congress or elections to the board of NFL, (a limited liability company):
“…that any election to the board of the 1st Defendant can only be validly conducted in accordance with the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the 1st Defendant and the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matter Act, rather than in line with the so-called guideline issued by the purported electoral committee ...That Electoral Committee is not a body contemplated by the Companies and Allied Matter Act nor the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the1st Defendant (NFL) and as such not competent to issue election guidelines, qualify candidates, on the basis of the said guidelines or take any other action in relation to the election into the board of directors of the 1st Defendant (NFL)”.
To All Nigerians (especially football lovers, football administrators, Football Club promoters, sponsors and potential sponsors of the Nigeria Professional Football League ).
On behalf of the League Management Committee, caretakers of the League Management Company, I offer a most sincere appreciation to all those who have written, spoken or offered wise practicable counsel to us whilst working at revamping the domestic premier league. Our biggest appreciation goes to those who have started responding in appreciable large numbers to our plea to fill-up the stands in match venues across the country.
To All Nigerians (especially football lovers, football administrators, Football Club promoters, sponsors and potential sponsors of the Nigeria Professional Football League).
Subsequent to my several press interviews in recent days, I find it necessary to present this communiqué as a forum to consolidate and also provide an update of the workings of the League Management Committee for the benefit of all football stakeholders.
On the 27th of December, 2012, the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) in exercise of its statutory powers set up the League Management Committee, to ‘rescue’ professional league football. At its inauguration by Alhaji Aminu Maigari, President of the NFA, the Committee was charged with the following terms of reference:
- organize the 2012/2013 league season;