The chairman of the now-defunct Concord FC Mohammed Edewor has said Nigerian football is in the doldrums because of the self-interests of those saddled with the administration of the game.
The lawyer said the huge sums of money generated from the game in the country was enough to propel it to another level but lamented that it has not been properly utilised.
“When we were running football, I ran a private club effectively and independently, we didn’t need the large sums of money that is being put into football now. We never had a better time for football than in this generation. But we don’t have the platform to develop it because it is done by people who put their interests before football,” Edewor, who signified his interest in running for the presidency of the Nigeria Football Federation, said at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday.
“When I was a board member at Lobi Stars, salaries were paid and we used to give other clubs playing in the Premier League money. Sometimes while going for matches the clubs tell us, ‘we’ve ran out of petrol and we haven’t been paid for three months.’ If you want to play a competitive game against me and I’m giving you N100,000 to eat, then I’m entitled to win that game. That’s what these set of administrators have brought to the game.”
Edewor also taxed the authorities to declare the league’s sponsorship money.
In February 2017, The PUNCH reported how eyebrows were raised over how the broadcast rights money of the domestic league for three seasons – 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 – was spent by the Club Owners Association, a group not recognised in the Articles and Memorandum of the Nigeria Football League Limited.
“If you look at the SuperSport (TV Rights) deal, it didn’t trickle down. Somebody should ask them, ‘what happened to the SuperSport money? What happened to the sponsorship money? It doesn’t have to be about Edewor, it is about the best football man. You don’t have to kick the ball but you need sense of management and transparency,” he added.
“We have to look at football professionally. There’s enough money now, there’s never been this kind of money in our football, never. When Insurance was under Chief Igbinomwanhia Ekhosuehi, the club was at their peak, but nowadays, with all the huge sums you hear government pumps into the club, they are in the second division with a slim chance of going up.
“I was told in South Africa that one of the reasons we are having issues with our sponsorship is that you can determine who’s going to win the next match, all the home games are won and the away games lost.”