We present the compliments of the League Management Company Limited (LMC). We recognize that you are a strategic stakeholder in the development and progress of the Nigeria Professional Football League and thank you for your support and patience thus far with our Elite cadre of the beautiful game.
We humbly call for your support towards revitalizing the business of Football on and off the pitch.
As you may be aware, the spate of difficulties within the Nigeria Football League family and operations culminated in a court judgment that declared the corporate being of the Nigeria Football League illegal.
The summary of the Federal High Court are that:
• The Nigeria Football League Ltd is an illegal body, having been incorporated in contravention of the law, the Court has ordered its winding up.
• Nigeria Premier League (a creation of the illegal NFL) has no corporate personality and is unknown to Nigerian law.
• No aspect of the administration or management of football in Nigeria can be conducted in the names of either NFL or NPL
• The court also declared as illegal the conduct of congress or elections to the board of NFL, (a limited liability company):
“…that any election to the board of the 1st Defendant can only be validly conducted in accordance with the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the 1st Defendant and the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matter Act, rather than in line with the so-called guideline issued by the purported electoral committee ...That Electoral Committee is not a body contemplated by the Companies and Allied Matter Act nor the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the1st Defendant (NFL) and as such not competent to issue election guidelines, qualify candidates, on the basis of the said guidelines or take any other action in relation to the election into the board of directors of the 1st Defendant (NFL)”.
THE LEAGUE MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED (LMC)
Consequently, in the vacuum created by the subsisting judicial position, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on 27th December 2012, in exercise of its statutory power set up the League Management Committee to ’rescue’ professional league football and charged it with the following terms of reference:
• Organize the 2012 / 2013 league season;
• Review all contractual obligations of the Nigeria Premier League, including TV and sponsorship rights;
• Review existing rules and guideline for the election into Nigeria Premier League Board;
• Develop new standard for player’s contract and welfare;
• Develop strategy and facilitate the reform of the league towards achieving profitability; and
• Any other relevant matters the committee may deem necessary.
The LMC is the new licensee for the administration of the professional soccer league in Nigeria from 2013 under Article 24 of FIFA. It is a key part of the new determination to change and prosper the stakes Of Players, Clubs, Fans, Owners, Country and Partners in the League.
This new legal entity was also necessary to ensure compliance with the laws of the land, unencumbered by the baggage of illegality, intractable law suits and insolvency, important for fresh and enforceable contractual relationships.
The LMC has a share capital of N 100, 000, 000.00 (one hundred million shares). In order to meet the minimum requirement of the law for incorporation, only 25% of its share capital was subscribed on incorporation. The NFF holds golden shares of 5% and the LMC, in the name of its chairman holds 20% in trust for the company, which will be relinquished as the situation warrants. There is an affidavit sworn to and registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja to further buttress this commitment to relinquish presently.
The participating clubs of the league will own no less than 60% of the shares which they will be mandated to take up as soon as they are re-organized, operated as a corporate entity in law and meet basic requirement to qualify for a license to play in the elite class.
These clubs are entitled to the shares allotted to them as long as they remain in the professional football league. Once a club is relegated or disqualified from the professional league it will lose its shares and the club taking its place will take over those shares.
There are initiatives of a new framework of robust corporate governance and modern management for the League. These will impact on:
• The organics of the Club sides, the club and the league.
• Player Employment, sanctity of valid contract as well as welfare.
• The new rules will guarantee that clubs have solid financial bases to meet their obligations to players and suppliers.
• New rules for the qualification and licensing of clubs within the league to bring our local clubs in line with international standards, not just surpassing only African examples.
• Protection of our Sponsors and Right holders so as to guarantee the financing of the league, we shall partner with the Clubs Compliance Agreements.
• Ensuring stability and continuity in the administration of the league by NFF’s 5% golden shares, which will give NFF a qualified veto in matters relating to the appointment of the LMC’s Board and change in the rules of the league.
• Setting aside 5% of the income of the LMC solely dedicated for a youth development program which will ensure that all clubs have feeder clubs of players not older than 18 years of age and of not more than 30 trainees.
• New standard of training of players, coaches, referee, medical personnel, match security agents etc will be enforced, amongst other things.
• Publish the audited account of the LMC at end of each financial year.
• Underpinning transparency and financial accountability in the league by a license condition which gives NFF the right to the financial records of the LMC and also conduct, if necessary, independent audit of the accounts of LMC.
The LMC has resolved and reworked Title Sponsorship Agreement as well as the Broadcast Right Agreement to incorporate more commercial and favourable terms for the league and also to further comply with relevant laws such as the Nigerian Broadcasting Code etc.
It is our determination to create soccer as a viable economic activity beneficial to players, the youths, technical officials, corporate bodies and Governments under strict adherence to the rules of the game and fiscal astuteness. The business of football should be no exception to ethical and principled management.
We envision that this reformation of our League requires a transition phase of about two seasons or 24 months to achieve compliance with the forthcoming rules and regulations. Having observed several leagues across the world, we shall insist that the clubs affiliating to the LMC should conduct business in a fair and transparent manner. Signposts of the transition will include:
Proper incorporation and operation of Clubs to accord with the Companies and Allied Matters Act in Nigeria; strict capitalization regime; Adoption of a framework for corporate governance as a sport and entertainment business entity; Minimum standardization of procedures and conditions for players’ recruitment, welfare including insurance; massive Club Shareholder / ticket-holder registration program thereby ensuring full community participation.
PROSPECT DELIVERABLES FROM OUR LEAGUE
For the Youths: Employment, talent realization and career.
For the Clubs: Talents from within and outside Nigeria, provision of bonding opportunities, brand build up and Income.
For the Populace:Entertainment and Community feeling, Membership / Fans Incentives and Reward initiatives in several formats.
For the Technical Operators:Enhance regulatory standard in Coaches, Referees, Medical, Backroom staff and Administration to withstand, CAF, FIFA scrutiny with a knock on effect on the National Squad.
For Business:Partnership opportunities for mass market services and goods, Partnership for consumer and financial sectors, Garment manufacturing and other Sports goods.
For the Government:Investment activities of the reformed and new Clubs, Creation of an economic sub-sector with implications of peoples target program, employment across the chain, income tax catchment.
For Mass Media: Additional business, segment for news, image molding, Role Model, Advertisement opportunities and partnership.
We are desirous that you participate in rebuilding the Nigeria Football League. First, by sensitizing all within your circle of influence towards the benefits of unlocking by these reforms the potentials of this economic sub-sector which has been ascribed a present value of N3.5B and growing;
Secondly, to invest by assisting through legislation or conversation, by cash and kind to the rebuilding of our Premier Club sides or formation of new ones to meet imminent higher capital and corporate requirements.
Thirdly, to ensure that the current developments are seen to take foothold in your local or preferred Club and prepare the relevant officials for fresh beginning as guidelines on the transition become published.
We are hopeful that you can determine this venture as a Win-Win for every Nigerian. In due course, we shall seek the privilege of meeting with you in your domain for detailed and specific information as well as receive your advice accordingly. Please, help us take football in this country to new heights.
Thank you once again. Most especial thanks to the Minister of Sports, Mal
Hon. Nduka Irabor
Delivered at to The National Council of Sport