The League Management Company (LMC) said its operations have been wholly funded from privately generated income and zero government financial contribution.
Mallam Shehu Dikko, Chairman of the LMC disclosed this and other initiatives of the league body when he appeared as guest on Africa Independent Television (AIT) morning show, Kaakaki and explained that the LMC would love to see government involved in the area of infrastructure upgrade while gradually divesting from club funding.
“Since the LMC came on board, our funding has been sourced from commercial partnerships which is the practice globally and while we appreciate the companies that have bought rights from us, we are still not where we should be financially which explains our recent visit with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to the Nigeria Stock Exchange,” Dikko said on the program.
Continuing on government’s role in football, the LMC Chairman said “in the 1990’s, the government of Margaret Thatcher in the UK provided over £200m for the upgrading of stadia facilities across England and that contributed critically to what we have today as the best League in the world, and today the UK Government is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the EPL, generating billions of pounds in taxes, football tourism, jobs and other socio-economic activities that are hinged on the EPL in the UK. We also would seek government’s intervention in this direction and we are not asking for funds to be handed to anyone but for government to directly fund the upgrade of existing grounds and provision of required broadcast equipments and facilities in the stadiums.”
Whilst acknowledging that foreign football especially the English Premier League has over-shadowed the domestic league, Dikko also pointed out that it is a global phenomenon which some European countries are also facing. His words, “We are aware of the seeming preference for foreign football but it is not just football, Nigerians buy foreign cars instead of from PAN, we buy foreign rice instead of local rice etc, but we are working on winning back the minds of the people. It is also not peculiar to Nigeria, go to Malaysia, China, Emirates and even at some point in Germany and Spain, everyone is trying not to compete with the English league.”
He said the LMC has implemented and is also working on a number of initiatives to uplift the league. “The club that wins the league this season will earn as much as N80m in revenue share, merit award, bonuses and kind and even the relegated club will earn a minimum of N55m. There are incentives for away wins, draws, attracting crowds to the games and we also provide official match balls to the teams including kit bags for the players. More importantly, we are seeking pool sponsorship for all 20 clubs so their finances will improve and consequently, the welfare of players as well as drive the commercialization of the clubs so as to make them attractive to investors.”