Senator Adamu Gumba
By Omololu Ogunmade
The Senate Tuesday commenced moves to sanitise Nigeria's football sector with the second reading of a bill to repeal the Nigeria Football Association Act 2004. It also moved to enact Nigeria Football Federation Act 2013.
The senators described the move to repeal and enact the bills as compelling as they decried the perceived decay in the administration of the game in Nigeria.
The senators blamed poor administration of football in Nigeria on government's sole funding, saying in normal circumstances government should have no business with funding and administration of the game.
The senators also noted that the bills would legalise the existence of the Nigeria Football Federation and simultaneously reduce government's interference in football.
The bill passed through the second reading and was committed to the Senate Committee on Sports and Youth Development for further legislative considerations.
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Adamu Gumba, said it was necessary to repeal the extant Act, alleging that it had outlived its usefulness. He also said it would require lots of amendments to bring the NFA Act in agreement with FIFA requirements as well as international best practices.
"One of the highlights of the new bill being presented to you is the membership of the Federation (NFF). The new bill seeks to ensure that only those who are actually involved in competitive football matches are members of the Federation and not just organisations and establishments as contained in the extant Act," he said.
In his contribution, Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi, said passing a bill legalising the existing NFF as the nation's football governing body corresponds with FIFA's rules.
Other senators such as Smart Adeyemi, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Ayogu Eze, Solomon Ewuga and Sani Yerima who supported the bill, agreed that the new bill would fast-track the growth of football in Nigeria.
In his remarks, Mark described the bill as very important, advising that the committee must remove all grey areas in it.