This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: NPL Must Be Private Sector-Driven, Says Irabor

Newly appointed Chairman of the Interim Management Committee of the Nigeria Premier League, Hon. Nduka Irabor, has said that the priority of the committee members now is to clean up the image of the NPL battered by crisis.

The former member of the House of Representatives in a chat with THISDAY Monday night, admitted that rushing to start the NPL will not yield the desired result until fundamental issues that have dragged down the league from making progress are sorted out.

"We want to clean up the mess caused by the crisis and not rush into starting the Premier League when some fundamental issues have not been settled," observed Irabor an avid supporter of the senior national team.

He admitted that he was happy with the constitution of the interim management committee of the NPL.

"I am happy with the calibre of persons in the interim management committee because we all share the same vision that the league must be private sector-driven. It is not proper for the league to run for two seasons without any sponsor as we have just had it," stressed the former media chief to Vice President Augustus Aikhomu, who was largely instrumental to Clemens Westerhof's success with the Super Eagles.

Irabor insisted that Westerhof was able to integrate the home based players into the senior national team because the Nigerian league of that era was vibrant.

"Westerhof succeeded in integrating home-based players into the Super Eagles because we had a functional league not now that the clubs are just left at the whims of government. Once we finish the house cleaning and make the product attractive, sponsors will come back to the league," said the interim committee chairman.

The 13-man committee was announced by the Nigeria Football Federation on Thursday last week to prepare ground for the take off of the 2012-2013 NPL season.

Also on the committee is former Super Eagles Captain, Kanu Nwankwo; a former secretary of the league, Salihu Abubakar; Lagos FA Chairman, Seyi Akinwunmi; a sports marketing expert, Shehu Dikko; former Globacom official, Modele Sharafa-Yusuf; General Manager of Ondo State Football Agency, Mike Idoko; and six others. NPL's Administrator, Tunji Babalola, is secretary of the committee.

The committee's terms of reference include: (i) Organise the 2012/2013 League;( ii) Review all contractual obligations of the NPL, including TV and Sponsorship rights; (iii) Develop strategy and facilitate the reform of the League towards achieving profitability; (iv) Review existing rules and guidelines for the election into NPL Board and (v), Develop new standards for players' contracts and welfare.

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