Towards curbing capital flight from the nation’s football industry to overseas, the League Management Company (LMC) has revealed that it intends to work with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the National Sports Commission (NSC) to push the Federal Government for the enactment of a legislation by the National Assembly that will make it mandatory for Nigerian companies entering into sponsorship deals with European Clubs to pay some percentage of the net worth of the deal to the domestic league.
Chairman of LMC, Mallam Shehu Dikko disclosed this at the inaugural sportspro.ng/Lagos Business School workshops which held at the Pan Atlantic University on Tuesday, August 11 and also re-echoed the LMC’s position at the recent World Leagues Forum inaugural meeting in London which sought a percentage of European Leagues’ broadcast and other commercial partnerships deals secured from Nigerian organizations for the airing of live games and other activations in the territory.
He lamented that investable funds that would have accelerated the development of football in the country are being channeled to foreign Leagues/club deals while the domestic league and clubs are left to struggle.
“Our biggest challenge is the struggle for the hearts of our fans and the proliferation of European football on television and promotion of foreign clubs contents by Nigerian companies. The intrusion of these broadcasts has made it more expensive to go to the stadium as just about N50 can get the average fan into a viewing center to see the foreign league and we are saying they should pay development grants in the forms of solidarity payments to us as they do to the lower leagues in their country”, argued the LMC boss.
His position was supported by the three Guest Speakers: Dr. Jim Pulcrano, a visiting Professor and member of EMBA Teaching Team, Mr. Kelvin Roberts, Editorial Director, Sports Business Group and Robert Matsauki, former Technical Director of Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA).
Roberts acknowledged that European football is devastating the development of football in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, saying “the position of the LMC is reasonable and it is something that could be put on the table and negotiated but it is also important that you identify opportunities in the industry and utilize them”.
Eight NPFL Club officials and some staff of the League Management Company (LMC) participated in the workshop which was moderated by Dikko. He said that continuous training and capacity development for stakeholders in the league is a deliberate policy to ensure that everyone is on the same page in the reforms initiated since 2013 to improve the league.
The Clubs’ officials in attendance were Davidson Owumi of Warri Wolves, Jude Anyadufu of Enyimba, Hon. Akin Akinbobola of Sunshine Stars and Rasheed Balogun of Shooting Stars. Others are Tijani Babangida of FC Taraba, Sammy Adesoji of Giwa FC, Alhaji Kabiru Baita of Kano Pillars and the acting Secretary of Club Owners and Managers Forum, Alloy Chukwuemeka. From the LMC were Harry Iwuala, Head of Special Projects and Kelvin Omuojine of the LMC Compliance and Regulations Unit.
“We are committed to equipping the Clubs with the necessary resource capacity to achieve resonance with our vision to improve the league in terms of performance on the pitch and off pitch including the financials. This is why we considered it necessary to sponsor some of the club officials to share ideas at an international forum such as we just had at the Lagos Business School”, explained Dikko.
Chukwuemeka said the seminar was immensely beneficial to the clubs and thanked the LMC for providing them the opportunity to expand their knowledge base. “We are very delighted and have been enriched by the deliberations; especially on the restructuring of club ownership to make it community based and alternative revenue sources for the clubs. We are going to share the seminar materials with our colleagues who could not attend this time”, promised the acting Secretary of the Clubs’ Managers forum.