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Nigeria Premier League debunks Total Promotions’ claim on broadcast rights

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

The Nigeria Premier League has reacted to the claims of Total Promotions Limited regarding to the broadcast rights of the Nigeria Premier League matches.

Total Promotions had last month written to the Commercial Legal department of MTN Communications to the effect that any contractual agreement the telecom firm may have had with the Nigeria Football Federation or its affiliate, the Nigeria Premier League are not valid. He further faulted the transition of the former Nigeria Football League Limited and the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA) to the present bodies of Nigeria Premier League Limited and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

It cited some legal cases to back its claims. The secretary of the Nigeria Premier League Limited, Danladi Ibrahim, a lawyer however countered the claims in a 20 November memo to the MTN.

He wrote: “We wish to reiterate that these claims made by “Total Promotions Limited” are entirely unfounded, factually incorrect, and devoid of any legal validity. Note that in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/179/2010 (Sam Jaja v Nigeria Football League Limited & 4ors), Justice Okorowo of the Federal High Court gave a judgement ordering the mandatory winding up of the Nigeria Football League Limited, the entity that granted Broadcast Rights to Total Promotions.

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“By this judgement, all rights assigned to Total Promotions by Nigeria Football League Limited became extinguished as the latter was consequently stripped of its license to organize a league.”

 

He also pointed out that the concepts of ‘frustration of contract’ and ‘force majeure’ are recognized under Nigeria’s contract laws. The execution of the contract between Total promotions and Nigeria Football League Limited became impossible after the latter became insolvent and was wound up by the Court.

 

Danladi Ibrahim further pointed out that the new body running the Nigerian lead football league, the NPL Ltd  was officially established on 2 February 2023, through the formal incorporation process with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

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“This incorporation was conducted under the authority of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports. The primary purpose of this entity is to oversee, regulate, and administer the top-tier professional football league in Nigeria.

“Under the NFF Statute of 2010, a league is defined as any body affiliated to the NFF and granted the authority to organize officially sanctioned competitions. It is essential to emphasize that both Nigeria Football League Limited and League Management Company Limited, private limited liability companies, were once granted this authority by the NFF but subsequently had their licenses revoked due to their financial insolvency.

“The Nigeria Premier League Ltd/Gte (RC No: 6862169) is an independent entity with the exclusive responsibility of organizing the Nigeria Premier Football League. This league is distinct from the Nigeria Professional Football League and the Nigeria Premier League, which were previously managed by the League Management Company Limited and Nigeria Football League Limited, respectively.

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“We want to clarify that, based on the principles of contractual privity and the legal personality granted to incorporated entities, the Nigeria Premier League Ltd/Gte (RC No: 6862169) is not a successor to either the League Management Company Limited or Nigeria Football League Limited and has not inherited any of their assets or liabilities.

“On the issue of the legal status of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Article 19 of the FIFA Statutes makes express provision that each member association shall manage its affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties (including governments).

“Consequently FIFA only recognizes the NFF, but does not accord any recognition to the NFA as constituted under the (NFA Act) as its administrative structure under the Act contravenes the FIFA Statues.”

He asked the MTN to disregard the  claims and assertions made by “Total Promotions Limited, as they lack any factual or legal merit.”

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.