•Demands action plan leading to final amendment with definite timelines

Sports Minister, Senator John Owan Enoh, has directed the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to conclude the amendment of its statutes to address the country’s situation within the next one year.

The minister also directed the federation to submit to his office the timeline leading to the final amendment of the statute.

Speaking during a meeting with the NFF board recently, Enoh said the federation’s new statute should accommodate all interest groups to avoid the constant litigations that have recently dogged the body.

The minister, who recognised NFF’s unique position as custodian of Nigeria’s football, reminded the federation that the world football governing body, FIFA, recognised each countries peculiar situations, hence the liberty it gives these countries to handle their game to suit their purpose.

He said: “If FIFA recognises the unique situations in each country as you mentioned, then NFF does not need to wait for the universal statute as it may not cover those unique situations and we may not have control of the timelines. Rather, NFF should initiate and conclude all expected amendments and approval within the next one year and send to FIFA.

“NFF should submit action plan leading to the final amendment of the statute with definite timelines to the office of the Minister of Sports Development, as we need to make progress and bring this to a positive conclusion on or before one year.

“There should be an expansion of the NFF’s congress to accommodate other stakeholders. NFF’s congress should be such that it is proportionally representative enough of all interests for the good of the sport.”

He added: “We need to save our football from unnecessary litigations so that the round leather game makes significant progress.

The legislation from FIFA guiding the NFF must be domesticated in Nigeria, so it is capable of handling issues peculiar to Nigeria.”

The minister told the NFF that the current situation of the local league should challenge it to work harder for the development of the game, especially at the grassroots level.

The minister said the strategic meeting with the NFF leadership at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, was part of his series of engagements with all sports federations in the nation.

He added that it is part of his efforts to appraise the state of sports in the country, to drive a common vision of development, resuscitate, rejuvenate and reinvigorate areas that are not in tandem with its mission.

The Minister said that the Ministry will not run football or any other sport on behalf of the federations, insisting, however, that it has a responsibility to play oversight functions and ensure the best interest of the nation is represented in the operations and activities of federations.

He added that the followership, interest, popularity, and excitement that football generates around the country requires careful and intentional actions for the growth of the game.

“We must be open to dissecting some of the burning issues in our football. This is what this meeting is about. Where are we as a footballing nation? What are our prospects? What are the plans? This sector is one where everyone is interested and wants to know what is going on. We should address topical and trending issues such as the 10-year football masterplan implementation, membership of the executive board of the NFF, the image of our league, amongst other issues. We must look at global best practices obtainable in thriving nations.”

In the minister’s entourage to the meeting were the minister’s Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar, top officials of the sports ministry and NFF executive committee members.

Earlier, NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau, appreciated the minister for his passion to develop sports in the country.

On the statutes of the NFF, he said the NFF’s legal department will synergise on the document before an appraisal meeting on the document is held. He added that the NFF has plans on the development of players based in the League with Coach Jose Peseiro set to handle the CHAN Eagles going forward.

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