Abuja - The minister of sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, has kicked against Wednesday’s demand by the Nigeria Premier League clubs' chairmen and owners for the League Management Company (LMC) curtail its activities.
Abdullahi told newsmen on Thursday in Abuja that he was not in support of the decision.
He said only the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had the right to terminate the existence of the LMC.
"The LMC was a creation of the NFF and as it (NFF) rightly pointed out in a statement, it is only the NFF that can determine when the tenure of the LMC is over.
"The tenure of the LMC is not a law of the National Assembly. It was determined by the NFF. So, the NFF can decide whether it wants the LMC to continue or not,’’ the minister said.
He said if the NFA wanted, it could say the LMC would stop to exist even before the tenure it initially gave it was over.
"It was not a matter of law and if it (NFF) wants, it can say the LMC should continue for the next hundred years. It is within its prerogative.
"Now that the NFF has come out to tell the club owners that they don’t have jurisdiction to determine the existence of the LMC, everyone should go back to their positions for us to move forward,’’ Abdullahi said.
The minister, who is also the chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), berated the attitude of the club owners, and said they were being ungrateful by their action.
"The NSC will not fold its hands and watch the millions of dollars of investment being attracted by the LMC to go down the drain,’’ he said.
Abdullahi argued that the club owners’ action was out of selfish interest, saying they were ignorant of the limit of their authorities and powers.
"I am not aware of any such agreement mandating the LMC to stay for only one season.
"What matters is whether Nigerians and football lovers in the country are happy with the progress we have made with the LMC in the last one year.
"I recall that about a year ago, the Nigerian league body could not even pay the indemnities of referees.
"But with the commitment of the members of the LMC, we have been able to bring in an investment worth over 34 million dollars. This is merely indicative of what is possible,’’ he said.
The minister pointed at the relegation of some clubs as being an indication of the good job the LMC had done so far.
"I am the minister of sports, but two clubs – Kwara United and ABS Football Clubs of Ilorin – from my state, Kwara were relegated.
"I am not happy about it, but I couldn’t do anything about it because of the kind of system we have put in place.
"The NFF Chairman, Aminu Maigari, is from Bauchi State, and Wikki Tourists FC of Bauchi was relegated, and he couldn’t do anything about it.
"That is an example of the level of integrity which was put into the running of the league,’’ he said.