Abuja - Emeka Inyama, the Chairman of the Nigeria National League (NNL), has said that sponsorship of the league by the Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc, will usher in more corporate sponsors.
Inyama made the remark on Tuesday in Abuja while signing the sponsorship agreement between NNL and IGI.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IGI became the league’s first official sponsor with N27 million for three years.
"At last, we are delighted to have a sponsor because for a long time, the league has been in dire need of money and corporate support.
"And now that we have IGI identifying with us, we believe and hope that this partnership with them will usher in more sponsors.
"I believe that it will trigger effects of more sponsors who believe in what we are doing and we will do everything possible to ensure that IGI is satisfied with the sponsorship," he said.
The league, after the board meeting held earlier in the day, agreed that 80 per cent of the partnership fee would be distributed evenly among the 31 NNL clubs.
Responding, Rotimi Fashola, the Managing Director of IGI, said the company’s decision was born out of its commitment to supporting the government in sports development at all levels.
"The founder of the company, Remi Olowude, loves sports so much, especially football and from our inception, it has always been our cooperate philosophy to support sports particularly football.
"And the whole idea is from the fact that sports have become a household name in Nigeria and there is no way one can leave it to government alone to handle.
"We have discovered that from the 21 years of IGI that the way forward is to join the government in supporting sports at all levels.
"Now, we have identified with football and it is one of the major milestone both in our history and the history of sports development in Nigeria," he said.
Fashola promised that IGI would improve on the packages if the partnership worked well.
"We are starting with N27 million for three years; after then, if things continue to work well, we promise to improve on it.
"This is just the beginning, we can always review the contract to improve on the package for the league after this first agreement," the managing-director said.
According to the communiqué of the board meeting issued to newsmen, the league also resolved that all indebted clubs will be barred from further participation if payments are not made before April 30.
It also reaffirmed that the second round of the league would start on April 13.
The league also resolved that all match official appointments will be published in the national dailies to ensure transparency.