Monday, January 11, 2010

FEATURES: Nigerian League In N765m Rubbles

With more than 200 petitions still at the doorstep of the Nigeria Football Federation’s Players’ Status and Arbitration Committee from players and officials of virtually all of the 52 professional clubs in the country, an investigation conducted by has uncovered that the clubs in Nigeria are living in austere times with more than 18 clubs in N765 million debt.
However,’s inquiry was conducted beyond just the clubs’ debt to players and officials, as almost all of the 52 clubs owe some firms across the country for providing one service or the other.
When one of the managers of the Premier League clubs (names withheld) was spoken to about the huge debt in the Premier League and the Nigeria National League (NNL) also known as the National Division I League, he even estimated that debt of all 52 clubs should be pegged at N1 billion considering the fact that these clubs do businesses with players, coaches, hotel owners, banks and sports shops among others.
NFF’s N121m Estimation Of Total Debt
Last year, the NFF’s Players’ Status and Arbitration Committee through its spokesman, Barrister Iyke Igbokwe, had disclosed in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja that 11 Premier League clubs and seven in the National Division I League owe players and officials various sums of money from signing-on fees to unpaid match bonuses to salaries.
Igbokwe had also revealed that the amount the 18 clubs owe the players and officials was N121 million, which dates back from the 2004 season to the current season.
But the findings of have proved that the sum revealed by the NFF committee is far from the actual amount, which is believed to be close N800 million through unofficial confirmation.
The debt in the Premier League and National Division I League as revealed by is based on unofficial facts from past and present club officials and players concerning signing-on fees, match bonuses and salaries.
Akwa United, Nasarawa United, Prime Football Club, Grays International, Ocean Boys, Ranchers Bees      , Niger Tornadoes, Kwara United, Heartland, El-Kanemi and Zamfara United.
Others are Plateau United, Wikki Tourist, Gombe United, Bayelsa United, Bendel Insurance, Lobi Stars and Sharks Football Club.
Premier League’s Real Worth
Last August while the Super Four was held in the capital of Kwara State – Ilorin – one of the league experts in Nigeria had told in an off-the-record discussion that the Premier League in the country is worth more than N1 billion. He explained that Nigeria’s top-flight is the league where the most money is injected compared to even South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Sudan, which are believed to pay players healthy wages.
The expert also went further to point out that clubs in the Premier League campaigning in any of the CAF-organised club competitions usually get subvention of between N400 million and N500 million for a season. The other clubs in the normal campaign would definitely get another N500 million from their various state governments when their total budgets are added up. For instance, Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) in a press briefing at its Jericho secretariat in Ibadan before the start of this season’s campaign, said its budget for the 2009/2010 season is N250 million though till date the amount made available to the club by the Oyo State government is unknown. Definitely clubs such as last season’s champion, Bayelsa United, Heartland, Enyimba and Warri Wolves due to compete in CAF’s two club competitions – the CAF Champions League and Confederation – would get additional amounts to cover for travelling expenses and match bonuses for these championships.

Premier’s League Highest-paid Player
In spite of the projection that Nigeria’s top-flight is worth more than N1 billion with funds from state governments, title sponsor (Globacom) and other supporting sponsor, the highest earner in the Premier League does not earn up to a $1,000 (N150,000) per month. understands that the biggest wage in the Premier League is earned by one of Heartland’s foreigners, which is just $800 (N120,000) per month. However, this is just the monthly salary of the highest-paid excluding allowances such as match bonuses and other incentives. In a league that has been rated as Africa’s number by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) for its performance in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup, there are players still being paid as low as N30,000 monthly. Yet, majority of the clubs still find it hard to remit these miserly amounts to players at the end of the month.
A Look Inside The Indebted Clubs
One of the clubs relegated from the Premier League last season, Akwa United, is believed to top the chart of indebted clubs with an outstanding bill of N250 million. Chairman of the club, Isong Isang, had reacted to the allegation that the club is in huge debt by stating that the amount was inherited from past managements of the Uyo-based outfit. He said: “I am sure that this kind of amount you have just mentioned cannot have been from just last season alone since you said there are cases lodged at the arbitration panel against us on the said amount. But at the same time, it could be a misrepresented figure because we have offset some debt that we inherited from previous managements.”
However, clubs like Nasarawa United, which was also relegated from the Premier League last season, remains unrepentant in paying off outstanding debt to past and present players and officials and little wonder the Lafia-based club is faced with possibility of falling off the professional ranks, as it is one of the sides occupying the rear in the National Division I League this season. Coaches such as Daniel Amokachi and Shuaibu Amodu are still owed by the club. Nasarawa United’s total debt is believed to be in the region of N150 million.
At Premier League champion, Bayelsa United, it has been a case of accusation from the players on the management. Last week, a handful of the players called to complain that the club had allegedly fleeced it of huge sums following the largesse from their title-winning feat of last season. One of the players told that “the (Bayelsa) state government had given us N500,000 each but some of us ended getting N200,000, others got varied amounts of N150,000 and got around N100,000 or N70,000.” The players are yet to be paid the balance of their signing-on fees for last season.
The story is also not different at clubs such as Sharks FC, where players are owed two months salaries, match bonuses and signing-on fees while Ocean Boys is roped in a huge debt to one of the struggling banks in the country. As for National Division I League sides, Grays International and Prime FC, they are faced with financial crisis that spans more than three years. Grays International, based in Ede, has found it difficult of late to honour away matches and recently was put up for sale by its owners, Ede North and Ede South local councils, due to its financial predicament.
Breakdown Of Clubs’ Debt
As at this moment, players in the Premier League and the National Division I League are owed around N306,000,000. This amount represents 40 per cent of what the total debt by clubs in the past five seasons of professional football in Nigeria though few would admit to this stark revelation. The 18 clubs, which is under investigation by owe officials the sum of N191,250,000 while hotel bills yet to be settled stand at N153,000,000. But bad loans from banks that include other services from purchase of football kits represent 15 per cent from the total debt of N765 million. The debt to other services in the two cadres of the professional leagues stands at 114,750,000 as at last season as represented in the flowchart below.
With the global recession yet to abate and now ravaging Nigeria’s financial sector inspection of the declaration by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that the country’s economy improved slightly, there appears to be no relief in sight for the 52 professional clubs in the country. The clubs are still tied to the apron of state governments and hardly rake in funds of their own. The situation is looking worse for the Premier League as its title sponsor, Globacom Nigeria Limited, has decided to pull out of its deal with the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) in the wake of a face-off with the NFF. Clubs looking forward to the start of the season grant of N10 million recently increased to N13 million may not get a dime this term after all due to the differences between Globacom and the NPL. The NNL, which is the National Division I League arbiter, on the other hand, has no sponsor.
In spite of the huge debts by Nigerian clubs, the NFF’s Players’ Status and Arbitration Committee is confident that it would recover every of debt owed players and officials even it is apparent that most of the clubs would run its budget this season without a dime from state governments, who are reluctant to make funds available due to huge demands from other equally important sectors of the country’s economy.

Akwa Utd                  N250m
Nasarawa Utd         N150m
Prime FC                    N80m
Grays Int’l                 N75m
Ocean Boys               N40m
Ranchers Bees          N26m
Tornadoes                 N16m
Kwara Utd                N16m
Heartland                  N15m
El-Kanemi                 N15m
Zamfara Utd            N12m
Plateau Utd               N12m
Wikki Tourist           N11m
Gombe Utd                N10m
Bayelsa Utd               N10m
Bendel Insurance     N10m
Lobi Stars                   N10m
Sharks FC                  N7m

1 comment:

  1. Na Wa o , so players are earing 30k a month thats slavery!!