BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
After 10 years of running the Nigeria first tier football league, the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), the League Management Company (LMC) has been declared illegal.
This is contained in a press release on Friday morning by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports. The press statement is signed by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Ismaila Abubakar.
The statement runs thus:
“In view of the several unpleasant incidents regarding the management of the Football League, specifically, the declaration of the National Football League (NFL) as an illegal body by the Court; the status of the League Management Company (LMC), the NFL’s successor-in-title being outside the purview of the Statutes of the NFF; the Federal Government is constrained to withdraw its recognition of the LMC as the operator of the Nigeria Professional Football League, with immediate effect.
“This decision has become necessary because of the obvious aberration (which is at variance with our football statutes or the laws of the land) whereby a private company is GIFTED the mandate to manage or run the league indefinitely, without the full involvement of and leadership by the clubs, and devoid of any process to monitor the progress and development of the game.
“Sequel to the above, and in order to rescue our domestic football from total collapse, the BOARD OF THE LMC AND THE LMC AS A BODY WOULD NO LONGER BE RECOGNISED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS OPERATOR OF THE NIGERIAN PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.
“To avert further chaos in our domestic football, the NFF is advised to immediately withdraw the Licence given to the LMC and, in the meantime, set up an Interim Management Committee (IMC), to include the current Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the LMC to oversee the affairs of the League until a proper Professional League Board is constituted in accordance with the Statutes of the NFF.”
Sports Village Square reports that the LMC came into being in the Season 2012/2013.
The season marked a watershed in the Nigerian football league.The Nigerian Premier League (NPL) board was pronounced illegal by a court. The NPL itself was created in 2005 and was inaugurated on 18 January by the then NFA chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, at the Le Meridian Hotel, Abuja.
It had a 15-man management committee headed by Chief Obaseki. But 10 years ago, the NFL collapsed following a litigation that declared it illegal.
Thereafter, the NFF issued the license to organize and regulate the top tier league to the LMC) for the purpose of organizing and promoting the league to meet global technical and commercial standards.
The franchise was granted following the near collapse of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) organized by the Nigeria Football League (NFL) which arose from intractable legal, contractual, administrative and financial impediments.
It all began with the composition of an Interim Management Committee, IMC, which in turn supervised the formation and incorporation of the LMC which is owned by the NFF and the participating clubs.
According to the LMC, its promoters were allotted 25% shares in compliance with the provisions of the Nigeria Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990.
Thus the NFF boss, as the representative of the association held five per cent of the allotted shares, whilst the Hon. Nduka Irabor as Chairman of the interim League Management Committee had 20% in trust.
The shares held by Irabor on behalf of the LMC were to be relinquished as soon as the Board of the company is appropriately constituted. A sworn affidavit to this effect was deposited at the rightful public repository.
At first, club officials, called club owners kicked against the IMC-turned LMC. With controversies settled, the league kicked off belatedly nearly four months behind schedule on March 9, 2013.