Stakeholders of Nigerian football were shocked when clubs’ chairmen said they had sacked the League Management Company (LMC) headed by Nduka Irabor.
Like a military order, the group also ordered the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, Tunji Babalola, to immediately recall all sacked staff of the league and take full charge of the running of the league until a substantive board is elected.
The grudges of the club’s chairmen were that the LMC was an aberration as it was improperly put together. They claimed that LMC was illegally registered and that two members of the board were sidelined while decisions were being made by the company. They claimed they were statutorily guided as the legislative authority of the league in sacking the LMC which they accused of high handedness and lack of regard for the clubs.
The communiqué issued at the end of the meeting in Abuja also read that the managers had disassociated themselves from the illegal company called League Management Company because the company was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) without the consent, resolution and approval of the clubs who are the supposed directors of such company, as well as the allocation of 20 million shares to Nduka Irabor representing 80 percent of the total shares and five million shares to Alhaji Aminu Maigari on behalf of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) representing 20 percent of the total shares.
Though Irabor argued that the shares were held in trust for the club, his arguments have failed to impress many league stakeholders, especially the club’s chairmen.
To Irabor, the LMC was created to prevent the almost total collapse of the Nigerian Premier League, which has been plagued by legal, contractual, administrative and financial problems.
Management of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, rose in defence of the LMC, saying that “the LMC is duly recognised by the NFF and has been keeping to the letter and spirit of its terms of reference, since inauguration. The NFF views any threat to the LMC as an affront, not only to the football federation but to Nigeria football.
We believe that the imbroglio between the management of the league and the club’s managers is a crisis too many in a system that has not known peace in the last few years. Nigerian league, with its array of talents that displayed their skill before the world at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa last February, must be allowed to experience peace by its stakeholders if truly they have the love of the game at heart.
Globacom’s sponsorship package of N550 million for the 2012/13 season was a timely intervention that needs a conducive atmosphere to yield positive result in a league that had been starved of funds in the last couple of seasons.
That is why the LMC, the clubs chairmen and the NFF should resolve their differences and devise an effective way to run the league. They should embrace dialogue and mutual understanding for the good of the league as none of the parties can function effectively without the other.
The administration of the Nigerian League is a big task which must be carried out in a peaceful environment. The NFF must quickly resolve the crisis to get the best out of our football league.