• Gara Gombe takes protest to presidency, Chatham House in London
Not ready to back down on his protest against the NI.6 billion deal between Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) and pay television service provider, StarTimes, for the broadcast right of the nation’s football league, former Chairman of Gombe United Football Club, Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gombe, may have concluded plans to meet with some key officials in the Presidency.
“I am also taking the fight to Governors’ Forum because they own a majority of the clubs featuring in the NPFL, the National Assembly and the Chatam House in London to draw global attention to this daylight oppression against our local league,” Gara Gombe told The Guardian, yesterday.
Officials of NPFL and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had signed the N1.6 billion five-year broadcast rights deal with the management of StarTimes in Abuja last week.
Gara-Gombe had described the N1.6 billion deal as a big insult to Nigerians and football stakeholders in the country saying that selling the NPFL TV broadcast right at just N1.6billion per year is total rubbish and is unacceptable.
He revealed, yesterday, that officials of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), NPFL and StarTimes hurriedly signed the deal in Abuja after they got wind that someone is waiting to offer a yearly payment of $11million for the broadcast right.
“These people think they are smart,” he said. “I have someone who had already prepared $11 million yearly to put the Nigerian league on television. He is based in London, and has over 30 years of experience in the broadcast industry. They saw what he has on the table for the NPFL broadcast right, and that is way they hurriedly went to Abuja to sign the N1.6 billion deal.
“If they meant well for the Nigerian League, how come the biding process was not advertised so that other companies could bid? I have taken my time to study the payment for broadcast right of league across African countries, and what StarTimes is giving to Nigeria is peanut.
The South African league gets over $222million from TV right. Tanzania league attracts over $9million yearly. Ghana gets about $2.3million from broadcast right. How come StarTimes gave just N1.6billion, which is peanut in U.S. dollars going by current market value? I am currently in Abuja to meet with those that matters as far as this issue is concerned. What I want is for the Federal Government to stop this deal and throw open the biding process,” Gara Gombe stated.