This Day (Lagos)

26 January 2011

Nigeria: NFF Insists NANF's Illegal Body

In the wake of a football pressure group, NANF returning to the law courts to try to stop the running of football in the country, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), last night, released information concerning the organisation that has often said it was the mouth and interest-keeping organ for Nigerian footballers.

Yesterday, via two documents, the NFF made out that NANF is in fact an illegal body as far as the global football family is concerned and that it has no locus standi to represent any footballer, either in Nigeria or anywhere in the world.

According to the documents, NANF has been expelled from the body branch of football that it says it came from, FIFPro (International Federation of Professional Footballers).

FIFPro, the body recognised by the global ruling body of the game, FIFA, to be the umbrella body for the welfare of footballers all over the world, is said to have expelled the NANF, headed by Harrison Jalla, from its community in 2009. The body would later in February last year, note a new Nigerian group - a breakaway faction of NANF; APFON, as the body that could be recognised for the role NANF was trying to play, in the nearest future.

According to the NFF documents, the Secretary General of the Africa Division of FIFPro, Stephane Burchkaiter, who came personally to Lagos in February 2009 to inform the federation of the membership status of NANF, the Nigerian body and Harrison Jalla were officially expelled from FIFPro in November 2008 during the body's Annual Congress in Chile, after following the procedures of articles of association.

A few days later, the expulsion was published in the news bulletin of FIFPro. There, it was also said APFON has been given the green light to try and be the new body to represent Nigeria in FIFPro but the global body said APFON still has a long way to go to be trusted enough to be accepted officially as the body from Nigeria within FIFPro.

As at the last count, there are 43 full member associations of countries making up FIFPro, with headquarters in the Netherlands, and Nigeria is not one of them.

According to the documents, the new body that FIFPro plans to absorb as part of the global organisation from Nigeria, is APFON, and it has not even accepted that body into the global fold yet; APFON is headed by Austin Popo, FIFPro says in a letter to the NFF that it needed to study closely APFON's activities and its working style in order to guarantee that they are the genuine property, before it would be given membership status.

Investigations close to the headquarters of FIFPro in Netherlands have also revealed that there are three ways to be a member of the FIFPro family. The lowest in the rung of membership is to be an Observer Member. The next in line is the Candidate Member, while the final status is as Full Member.

There are only three African Full Members and they are Cameroon, Egypt and South Africa. African Candidate Members are also four: Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire, Congo DR and Morocco. Observer Members from the continent are three, to wit: Ghana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

As of now, there are 43 Full Members, six Candidate Members and 11 Observer Members. The incumbent President is Gordon Taylor of the PFA of England while the General Secretary is Tho van Seggelen of VVCS of Netherlands. Other top officials of the body are Philippe Piat of UNFP of France, Leonrardo Grosso of AIC of Italy, Gerardo G. Movilla of AFE in Spain and Jorge Dominguez of the FAA of Argentina as the quartet of Vice-presidents. The secretary to the FIFPro Board is Frederique Winia of Netherlands.

Tags: Nigeria, Sports

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