THINGS FALL APART: Will Nigeria Premier League Now Rest In Peace?

It may not be a surprise to any keen follower of Nigeria football that Nigeria Premier League (NPL) may have gone bankrupt after all. We all saw it coming with the pandemonium – the struggle for leadership positions, the incessant frauds and how things are done with reckless abandon. It would have been a miracle if the football administrators continue operations for so long.

You don’t need a rocket science to know that things will eventually fall apart one day. No one can successfully run an organization without accountability. The problem is not about the missing =N=12. Something millions – we all know it has gone into some private pockets – it’s not the first time. The problem is why government has continue to allow NFF and NPL free hand to control millions of Naira, sometimes dollars, without any form of accountability? And we’re tired of hearing cock and bull stories; how these monies grew wings overnight and flew away without trace. Well, they have been digging a grave to bury NPL.

Perhaps, this is one of the reasons NPL couldn’t find any willing sponsor for the league. No organization would allow them such free hand to squander their sponsorship money. The private sector is different. It has a tradition of accounting and justifying every one Naira it spent in running its business. So you see; the officials of these sponsors can’t play ball with NPL. Big time football sponsors such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Guilder, MTN, and GLO may have backed out of Nigeria Premier League due to so much loggerhead and unfulfilled parts of the previous sponsorship deals. Now, it has degenerated to bankruptcy, NPL can no longer pay it’s way in running the football league.

It may surprise you what they have chose to do. NPL have decided that for the league to go on, the clubs playing at home shall be responsible for the payment of referees and match commissioners. It’s another way of giving clubs license to match fix all their home games. You don’t expect a club management to pay the referees and loose the same game at home. As they say “He who pays the piper dictates the tune.” It’s just a mockery of the whole league. It’s ridiculous, but don’t you think NPL should just act like any other enterprise. If they don’t have money to continue the league, its better they declare themselves bankrupt, then go ahead and shut down – R.I.P.

In fact, it’s long overdue, it’s time to disband NPL and save Nigerian football. We need to establish a new football administrative body and model it like such successful league as the English Premier League (EPL). There is nothing wrong in bringing some expatriate consultants to start up and test run the new league for about five or ten years. Within this period, some new administrators would have been trained to take over.

We should take the step right now! NPL has failed to impress Nigeria football fans and therefore has lost it’s essence of running football league in Nigeria. It doesn’t have the capacity to sustain itself and government cannot continue to finance our football. We need private sector participation and sponsorship to develop the sport and make it a wealth creating industry in Nigeria.

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