DECREE 101: Government Decree To Kill Football In Nigeria

If Federal government of Nigeria thinks they are giving football a life line by funding it, they should think again. This may be the misconception that has led Nigeria football into a comatose state now.

It may be hard for you to understand why Nigeria football is dying so fast even with the huge funding from government and the large market of over 50 million football fans. But professionals know that Decree101, which gives government the right to fund and control the sport, is a killer law. It has killed all form of entrepreneurship spirit that should bring about growth and development of the sport. Decree 101 is like a poisonous drug administered to our football day after day. Now, it’s fast killing the beautiful game.

May be, I should explain what is happening. Since government funds football, it influence Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) elections (who pays the piper dictates the tune) – to favor their political alleys into Executive positions of the football administrative body. Therefore, persons who don’t have the necessary qualifications and who are not vast in football matters emerges as officials of NFF. These square pegs in round holes commit lots of blunders in making decisions that is drawing our football to the grave. Their decisions are so unstable and the outcome is usually terrible. For instance, they hire a new coach today and the next day they fire him to hire another one, which they will also fire in few months time. They’re just gambling. They’re not sure if what they want is an indigenous coach or a foreign technical adviser…

These selected executives don’t have any idea of how to generate income for NFF. They just wait for government to disburse funds and they quickly misappropriate or embezzle it. It’s common to hear of missing millions of dollars in NFF glass house. There is no accountability of any form. Funds meant for our national team players and for football development are diverted into private pockets. Players are not well compensated; they don’t hire the right coach at the right time. Consequently, the national team performs woefully even when playing with smaller football nations like Rwanda, Mozambique, Sudan, Ethiopia, they struggle.

The poor administrative performance has affected Nigeria Premier League (NPL) more adversely. With reports of match fixing and poor officiating, the league have been reduced to Child’s play. Fans no longer attend matches at the stadium; Sponsors and advertisers have also distance themselves from the league. Since there’s no more ticketing and advertising income, most clubs depend wholly on their state government and philanthropists to provide all the funding for them.

We all know from experience that governments are not good managers of business. We must get out of the idea that football will die if government hands off funding the sport.  Football flourishes better in private hands going by experience of major football countries across the world. If we have the right professionals managing our football like a business, with all the departments – financing and accounting, Administrations and marketing – functioning as they should, Nigeria football will come up tops. The solution is, NFF should be truly independent and private participation driven.

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