NFF in Talks with Mikel, Moses over Image Rights



Duro Ikhazuagbe

Two senior players of the Super Eagles, John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses have been unsettled by the World Cup 2018 partnership the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) entered into with soft drink giant, Coca-Cola.

Both players have individual sponsorship deals with rival Pepsi-Cola.

THISDAY learnt yesterday that agents representing the two influential members of the Super Eagles wrote to the NFF recently, complaining of brand infringement on their clients as a result of the Coca-Cola deal with the Glass House.

They said the use of the image of their clients on branding by Coca-Cola may lead to the players running into infringement problems with the rival Pepsi and thereby risk losing the deal.

The complaints were similar to the same issues raised by rave of the English Premier League, Mohamed Salah with the Egyptian FA when his image was used to brand the aircraft used by the Pharaohs. The Egyptian FA have a sponsorship deal with a telcom firm different from the individual deal Salah has with a rival telco.

However, a top source at the NFF said yesterday that the matter raised by representatives of both Mikel and Moses was being looked into with the hope that it will not affect the relationships the various parties have with their sponsors.

“Yes, we (the NFF officials) have been contacted by the agents of Mikel and Moses on the Coca-Cola deal.

“They have stated that their clients have deals with another soft drink company. But it’s nothing for Nigerians to get worried over as the matter is being sorted out.

“We have made the initial response and all sides are talking and I believe it won’t cause us any distractions,” stressed the NFF official who refused to be named in print last night.

Further checks by THISDAY revealed yesterday that Mikel’s agent appears to understand the matter better and willing to concede so long as his client is not to be made to endorse the rival soft drink brand as part of his duty as captain of the Super Eagles.

“No, It won’t get to that. We understand the position of the players and their individual image rights. Players are allowed to have personal endorsements on their choice of boots and gloves in the case of goalkeepers but other area such as kits, equipment and accommodation are taken as group right with clubs or the federations,” stressed the NFF official conversant with players’ image rights at both club and country levels.

It is generally believed that one of the reasons that Adidas refused to renew its contract with Super Eagles was because of the manner a former coach of the team was fond of spotting rival NIKE products even at competitions.