• Tue. May 28th, 2024



Despite the uncertain resumption date of Nigeria’s Premier Football League (NPFL), a storm is brewing, and it’s not on the field but in the ledger books.

It is an issue that has been a major discussion before this writer was born; NPFL clubs with debts! Perhaps, one cannot not blame the clubs as the country Nigeria has arrears hanging like a sword of Damocles above their heads.

The clubs according to the league body are facing a reality check that could leave them sidelined.

In an authoritative memorandum titled “Re-Financial Requirements of Club Licensing Regulation,” the Chief Operating Officer of the NPL (Nigeria Premier League)Board, Davidson Owumi, pulled no punches in sounding the alarm bells.

The memo, dated August 23, was a double-tap reminder to the top brass of the 20 NPFL clubs. Owumi, akin to a vigilant shepherd, herded their attention back to a prior communication on the subject and made it crystal clear that the era of lip service is over; action is the new MVP.

With prose as stern as a coach’s halftime pep talk, the memo spelt out the dire consequences for clubs found wanting in clearing their debts to players and club officials. As the dust settles, the writing on the wall couldn’t be clearer: “No pay, no play.”

Registration for the upcoming season will be a roadblock unless clubs can provide watertight evidence of compliance. Unpaid dues to players and officials, both former and current, must be settled, or else the pitch will remain an empty canvas.

Owumi, like a referee making the final call, underscored that this stringent measure was the ticket to ensure that clubs sweep their financial house clean. But the story doesn’t end there; there’s a twist in the tale.

The memo extended an olive branch to clubs that have locked horns with the NFF Arbitration panel. Like a sage diplomat, Owumi extended the invitation to these clubs to come forth with evidence of compliance or documents of amicable settlements. The verdict? Clarity and closure.

For clubs already entrenched in the quagmire of indebtedness, the clock is ticking, and the stakes are high. A sombre declaration emerged from the League’s chambers: the doors to enlisting new players slammed shut, echoing the refrain of “settled dues or silent sidelines.”

In this unfolding saga, the stage is set for a breathtaking showdown between fiscal responsibility and the desire for sporting glory. As the NPFL prepares to light the torch of a new season, the financial fires of accountability are burning bright.

Now is the moment for the toothless bulldog to step up and embrace the mantle of authority, translating words into actions. Will they continue to emit mere barks, or shall they finally find the courage to bite?

Jokanola Bolaji

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