NPFL Chairman, Hon Nduka Irabor
By Olawale Ajimotokan
The League Management Company (LMC) Monday fired a broadside at the professional football club owners who on Sunday, challenged the moral authority of LMC to register a private liability company without the consent and approval of the congress.
The owners expressed disenchantment that their two representatives on the board, Mike Idoko and Sabo Babayaro, were sidelined from the decisions made by the LMC in the operation of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Among others they also accused the LMC of auctioning the NPL Guest House in Wuse Zone 2, without the approval of Congress as well for owning the workers of the league five months salaries, a situation that has resulted in the lowering of the workers’ morale.
They gave the LMC a week ultimatum to call an emergency congress of the football stakeholders.
But at an interactive session with reporters yesterday, a member of the board of LMC, Shehu Dikko, described the groundswell of the 20 club owners’ grudge as misplaced.
Dikko, who addressed reporters on behalf of the chairman of LMC, Hon Nduka Irabor, said the LMC had operated in line with the mandate given it by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), which set it up in December last year.
He said that the registration of Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) was warranted by the declaration of NPL as illegal by Justice Donatus Okorowo of an Abuja High Court in a ruling on a suit instituted by Dr Sam Sam Jaja last year.
Dikko said that they opted to start with a new template as it would be difficult to attract business and sponsorship for the league on account of the court ruling.
He said the LMC and NFF were only holding the shares of the NPFL in trust on behalf of the clubs as any club that is relegated from the elite league will relinquish its shares.
Dikko also punctured the claims of the club owners that they were not carried along in decision making. He said Babayaro signed the company incorporation document on behalf of the club owners as a director while Aminu Maigari and Irabor signed on behalf of NFF and LMC respectively.
According to him, the statutes of the NPL reinforcing the autonomy, obligations and powers of the clubs are now null and void as some of the club owners have signed and agreed to the formation of the company.
“None of them raised objection when Irabor explained to them the issues on registration of the business. Why are they crying wolf now that the league is already in progress? The league lost potential revenue of N2billion in the last three years. But we have resolved some of the business issues within weeks of coming on board,” Dikko said.
He said LMC could not pay the football workers salary as it met the NPL in debt to the tune of N450million from a bank loan, adding that LMC had informed the workers that the money available would not be enough to a pay a month’s salary.
According to him, the workers had been assured that their outstanding salaries would be paid when the business breaks even as LMC is currently operated with personal money.