Just as the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) continues to shop for sponsors, a consortium of investors based in the United Kingdom are reportedly ready to invest as much as $1,5bn in the Nigerian domestic league.
Revealing this during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Youth & Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, the CEO/president of sports promotion company, Arabella 21st Century, Otunba Femmy Carrena, said the deal was as good as done, with a few conditions.
“Yes, they want to bring in about $1.5bn into Nigerian football, but there is a caveat to it. They are not going to tamper with the constitution, statutes or football article. It is the same thing they did in China and Japan. The league board will operate with the NFF and the Ministry will be involved. They want to set up a Football Development Company that will be quoted on the stock exchange, with the same applying to all the football clubs in Nigeria. “
However, according to Carrena, the investors would love to make some profit from their investment.
“They want to come to Nigeria and manage our league for the next 20 years. After a meeting with the ministry and other stakeholders, they’ll set up the company but their Nigerian counterparts are expected to invest 30 per cent of the $1.5bn. They’re ready to put their own money into the stock exchange, but they’ll have the controlling share,” Carrena said.
If the deal falls through, Carrena disclosed, there would be a football conference in the country to let the various clubs know what to expect. “They will restructure the league, get the television rights but not before a conference which will explain to everyone how it will work. They will be coming with technical experts from the premiership who will be operating in the development company that they will set up, which will include representatives of the ministry, the LMC and the NFF.
Carrena, who said that talks are already in progress with the Confederation of African Football, CAF, pointed out that the national teams would benefit in terms of training and subventions.
Dalung, in his response, revealed that the ministry would no longer invest in elite sports development, as it would be private-sector driven from henceforth
“It will now be stakeholder- defined . You must put your money in it. The days of government’s huge budgetary allocations for people who have no single contributions are over.