By: Gracious Akujobi
Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of the League Management Company, Salisu Abubakar, said on Tuesday that plans are underway to have anti-corruption laws for football in Nigeria.
Abubakar in an interview with Prompt News Online said the laws when operational would checkmate the activities of club and match officials.
He said the LMC was collaborating with the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi to ensure that the proposal succeeds at the end of the day.
“We want to make specific anti-corruption laws for football and by the time the law comes out you will see changes in the league.
“The LMC in its normal way will keep quite but by the time it comes out with a result, it becomes a bang,’’ Abubakar said.
The LMC CEO said the proposed law was necessitated by the perceived corruption in the domestic league.
He pointed out that Nigerian league would be better for it in the long run when the law takes effect.
“I will tell you today that Nigerian referees can be the best in the world if they want and they can also be the worst in the world if they want.
“Most times when you go to watch a match, they will tell you that man of the match is this player or that player.
“But here in Nigeria, the man of the match most times is the referee because of his or her ‘questionable’ officiating”, he said.
In a related development Bitrus Bewarang, President of the Nigerian Football Coaches Association has raised alarm over the level of corruption in the domestic league.
Bewarang noted that the future of coaching in Nigeria was bleak if nothing was done to checkmate corruption in the domestic league especially the Nigeria National League (NNL).
“My fear for coaches is that if this corruption continues very soon we will not have jobs again because nobody will come and watch the matches.
“No sponsor will spend his or her money as it is done all over the world and who are the looser, the coaches and the footballers.
“If this corruption is not going to stop, you will discover that what we will be having is a situation where club proprietors will come and handle the teams.
“Right now you can hear some of them saying that it is not their coaches or players that have taken them to the top of the league table but their money,” Bewarang said.
The coaches’ boss, however, said that rather than use money to buy slots and positions, club owners should channel their resources to the development of players.
Bewarang pointed out that players should be provided with good salaries, incentives and kits so that they would look presentable as professional players.
He noted that corruption was gaining more ground in football because football managers had treated allegations of corruption in football with “kid glove”
He commended the effort of the sports minister in addressing the issue of corruption in the league especially the plan to deploy personnel of the EFCC to match venues to monitor league encounters.