BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
The management of GTI Asset Management & Trust Limited, which has launched The Nigerian Football Fund (TNFF) on Wednesday threw light on the noble idea.
In an interactive session involving sports and business journalists, the company’s Executive Director on fund management, Nelson Ine explained that the project is the tonic that Nigerian football deserved to leapfrog into higher level.
Already, the GTI Group has set up a N5 billion football facility through the instrumentality of the capital market to mobilise private sector investments into football and other sports projects.
The facility is tagged: ‘The Nigerian Football Fund (TNFF)’, is a collective investment scheme and mutual fund that combines the regular advantages of a mutual fund with unique propositions of a structured fund.
The application list for the offer was opened about a year ago and it was resgisterd by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an open-ended fund. It is envisaged to fill the missing link in the development of Nigerian sports.
According to Nelson Ine, the N5 billion is being raised through an initial public offering (IPO) of 5.0 billion units at a par value of N1.2 kobo per unit. The minimum subscription to the fund is 100,000 or N100,000 and thereafter in multiples of N100,000.
Ine explained further that when the project becomes fully operational, it will be yielding revenue to the point that a reversal in sports funding in Nigeria will occur.
Now sports bodies, especially the football clubs and the various association run to government for funding , but soon, the reverse will be the case.
He wondered why football as an entertainment cannot the same acclamation that music as part of the industry in Nigeria has attained worldwide.
Right now, Nigerian musicians are well sought for in the world, taking over the earlier American dominance.
Nelson explained that football in Nigeria can do the same and only need the right tonic which the TNFF will be providing .
He described the scheme as a mutual fund that will enable Nigerians to invest in the football industry. He emphasised on investing as he pointed out that money put in the scheme is not regarded as donation.
“We are not sponsors of the Nigerian Football League, rather, we are strategic partners”, he said pointing out that the Nigerian professional football clubs will move from being financially loss oriented to ones that will generate returns.
“We are like burden-bearers on rescue mission of Nigerian football”, he emphasised. “The sports properties should not diminish. Rather they should grow”, he pointed out.
Using the English Premier League as an example, Ine pointed out at the growth tragetory as the league over 30 years grew from a £192 million value to £10.5 billion in 2022.
He pointed at the changes that have happened in FIFA and IOC to support his assertions. Prior to the advent of Joao Havelange’s tenure in 1974, FIFA had no asset of note.
But the bunsinessman and business-oriented Havelange opened a new vista. Now FIFA is one of the richest international organisations in the world.
Ine also noted that the before Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, IOC frowned at ventures that are profit oriented. But the American changed that perception. So from a net worth of $250 million in 1984, the IOC worthed $7.6 billion as at 2021.
He believes if the right structures are put in place in Nigeria coupled with trusted corporate governance