Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (right) receiving a Manchester United jersey from the state’s Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Mr. Enitan Oshodi (middle) while the Chairman of Lagos State Football Association, Mr. Seyi Akinwunmi (left), share the moment with them during the opening ceremony of Soccerex Seminar at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos
Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, (NSC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has said that he stopped the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) board from starting the 2012/13 season in order to save the league from being dragged into disrepute.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Soccerex Seminar in Lagos Thursday, the minister insisted that stopping the league from starting in order to resolve pending matters was a wise decision to avoid confusion also engulfing the new season.
“There were too many unresolved matters last season. So when some members of the League board came to me to say that they wanted to start the new season, I immediately stopped it until issues bordering the Premier League were resolved,” observed the former youth development minister who is searching for a permanent solution to the crisis that has held down the league.
He pointed at the how the league was becoming a caricature of the original aiming, pointing out that outcome of matches had become too predictable.
“It is only in Nigeria that a league match will go on for nearly three hours until a particular club wins. It is the only league in the world where home teams always win their matches. By the time you add that to the leadership crisis plaguing the body, you will agree that we have a major problem at hand and nobody will want to watch matches in this circumstance," stressed the minister on why most of our stadia are empty on match days.
Abdullahi insisted that in this predictability situation of the outcome of most matches, the property has become unattractive both to the fans and the business community.
He said until all these issues were resolved any attempt to go on with the league will be an exercise in futility.
According to the sports minister, another reason the private sector do not wanting to partner the league, is based on the belief that the government was not interested in anything productive and also that those in government will steal their money.
"These are excuses, but the challenge is not getting those who can do it right but developing a system that will ensure that things are done the right way," lectured Abdullahi.
He urged Nigerians to change their mentality because it was not everyone in the private sector that were saints and also not everyone in government that are devilish.