One of the challenging tasks for most football administrators in Nigeria is to figure out how to raise their own funds for operations. It looks like the easy way out is to get government to disburse the funds so there will be something for everyone to share. So it didn't surprise me that the Nduka Irabor led Interim Management Committee (IMC) is asking government to disburse 1.3 million to enable them start a new season for Nigeria Premier League (NPL). This may be a clear indication of lack of direction and lack of understanding of what the problems are, on the part of IMC; and I will tell you why.

Government funding is a virus! It's that very canker worm that is destroying the core fabric of our football league and we seem to find it so difficult to expel out of the system.

I should think with the caliber of personnel in the committee, they should be able to do something remarkable - to take away the league from the Political class and then, hand it over to real football professionals. As long as government is funding the league there will still be controversy in electing members of NPL board; there will still be square pegs in round holes - He who pays the piper dictates the tune!

Sponsorship is the life blood of sports anywhere in the world. It is the very instrument that provides check and balance for the administrators of the league. For instance, no sponsor would allow anyone to steal or squander the sponsorship funds without purpose or accountability. Sponsorship is the necessary injection that will bring about rapid growth and development of the league.

I think the first assignment of IMC would have been to resolve whatever sponsorship disagreement there is between Globacom, MTN, and Total Promotions Limited. To have the sponsorship terms and agreement straightened out. This is of prime importance and I think this is where we need government to intervene and to help resolve the matter at the shortest possible time.

IMC shouldn't just go on to start a new league season and later conduct election for a new NPL board - that may not be the real term of reference. The critical part of IMC assignment is to get Nigeria fans to start responding again. This is the result we want to see.

Football business is all about the fans - the spectators that will patronize the league every other week throughout the season. It is most critical to consider what fans expectations are and go ahead to put them in place. IMC should understand that a football league's greatest asset is the fans, because without the fans there is no league. Perhaps, this is what the reform is all about, to provide an enabling environment for an exciting league.

Therefore, to hurriedly start a new season without resolving most of the vital and impending issues wouldn't change anything. It would even compound the poor state of the league

What about the issues of Match fixing, Board room points, Molestation of opponent and official by fans of the home teams...

 What about contract issues between clubs and players i.e., none payment of sign on fees and salaries, Players transfer market issues... What about Match commissioners and Referees assignment and payments. These are some of the issues that need urgent attention. And I think IMC should properly address before starting any new season.

The second part of the assignment I think is for IMC to put in place a strong marketing structure that would aggressively sell the league back to the fans. When fans are excited and begin to patronize the league regularly, then sponsors would naturally increase their stake.  The case of funding will become a thing of the past..

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