The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare, has affirmed that Nigerian football needs a business master plan in order to compete favourably with others in the world.
Speaking on Friday, 26 March, 2021 at Ilaji Hotel Sports Resort, Akanran, Ibadan at the Football Business Forum, the Minister stated, “It is not a coincidence that stakeholders are gathered at the Ilaji Sports Resort to discuss a critical issue in Nigeria’s football odyssey.
“When i visited Ilaji Sports Resort few weeks ago, I was enthralled by the magnitude of investment an individual has put into sports development and decided that the Ministry should hold the event here due to inherent lessons to be taken away about private-public partnership. The problems militating against the development of our football are legion, but should not deter us from our mission and vision of getting it right.
“Despite economic stagnation created by the effect of COVID-19, world football governing body, FIFA’s revenue projection remains at $6.44 billion.
“Coming at a time when European clubs recorded a loss of €1 billion, this is astronomical.In spite of Nigeria’s rich football culture, we have not started tapping this gold mine. While majority of clubs are government owned, poor remuneration, lack of structures, absence of financial base remain impediments to growth. Most so called professional clubs remain mere appendages of government sustained either for political patronage, social mobilization or just mere social service.”
Chief Dare explained that for any policy to make a difference there must be condition precedence.
“I want to charge the managers of Nigerian football, the NFF to present a football development master plan (at all levels-youth, amateur, professional, women football) before the end of 2021 with specific models and timelines, program of action and expected outcomes.
“This must be done against the backdrop of the mindset that for football to become business and attract the necessary investments there must be a structure that is at par or strives to be at par with what we see elsewhere. The casual, cavalier approach to our football development by the NFF must change at all levels.
“In tandem with FG’s plan to deliver a new policy of sports as business, government will demand more coherent and consistent plans, initiatives and programmes from not just the NFF but other Federations. The table talk time is over. It is time to shake the table towards identifying and exiting those who hold or have held the growth and development of our football by the jugular”.
He further added that, “I believe you will chart a new pathway for our football development. Be rest assured that whatever recommendations from this gathering of eminent people would not be swept under the carpet or thrown into the thrash can”.
The Minister commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the re-classification of sports as business thereby paving the way for a reviewed National Sports Industry Policy.