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Why no privately owned football club can survive in Nigeria – Lumumba

A former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) presidential candidate and proprietor of defunct Jos City Raiders football club, Hon. Lumumba Dah Adeh, has said the heavy…

A former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) presidential candidate and proprietor of defunct Jos City Raiders football club, Hon. Lumumba Dah Adeh, has said the heavy involvement of the government in the football sector will continue to kill privately owned clubs.

The former member of the House of Representatives from Plateau State was reacting to the fate of one of the privately owned clubs, FC Ifeanyi Ubah, a club founded seven years ago by business mogul, Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, which got relegated from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) last season.

Speaking to Daily Trust, the chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Plateau State said “The state of Nigerian football league is pathetic. There is nothing regular about the league. There is no consistency. It has been reduced to a patronage system. Appointment of referees and match commissioners is ridden with corruption. League titles are won even before kick-off.

“Where are Abiola Babes, Udoji United, Ranchers Bees, Gabros, JC Raiders, Iwuanyanwu National and Stationary Stores? These are clubs that were well run by private individuals but they couldn’t survive the corrupt system. They couldn’t compete with government clubs that spend money as if money is going out of fashion.

“I tell you no privately owned club can survive in Nigeria. Nigerian football clubs can be thick only if corporate organisations with integrity can come in to sponsor them. For now, government clubs are being used as conduit pipes to siphon public funds,” he noted.

Lumumba, therefore, opined that the way out of the deplorable situation is for governments to desist from floating and sponsoring football clubs.

He maintained that as long as governments continue to fund clubs, it will be difficult for clubs that are owned and sponsored by individuals to survive the sharp practices in Nigerian football.

“The only way out is for governments to hand off the running of football. Why should there be government clubs like Akwa United, Rivers United, Katsina United, Kwara United, Lobi Stars, Plateau United and a host of others? The stake of the government in Nigerian football should be reduced to the barest minimum,” he advised.

Out of the 20 clubs that are competing in the ongoing NPFL season, only two clubs, MFM of Lagos and Remo Stars are privately owned.

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