Officers from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Thursday sealed off the office of the League Management Company (LMC) in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that no fewer than 10 police officers arrived at the entrance of the LMC office early in the day to seal up the premises.
They took up places to bar workers and visitors from entering the office located at 20, Osun Crescent in the Maitama District, after arriving with a van and two patrol cars.
The officer leading the team of policemen, after refusing to reveal his identity, told NAN they were instructed from the Force Headquarters to seal off the LMC office.
He also said they were given orders not to allow newsmen take pictures of the scene.
”Anyone who wished to do so will have to get a permit from the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) before he or she could be granted access,” the officer added.
NAN reports that the order to seal off the LMC office may not be unconnected with the directive on Friday by the Federal Government.
The directive, passed through the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, had advised the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to immediately withdraw LMC’s operating licence.
The LMC had since 2012 been the sole operator of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The directive, in a statement signed by Ismaila Abubakar, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, had said government was constrained to withdraw its recognition of the LMC.
This, it said, was in view of the several unpleasant incidents regarding the management of the country’s professional football league.
The NFF was also directed to set up an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to run the league pending the time the clubs would run it themselves.
NAN reports that NFF, as at Thursday, was yet to react to the directive as well as the sealing off of the LMC office.
The Federal Government has advised the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF),to immediately withdraw the licence given to the League Management Company (LMC) as the operator of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
This is contained in a statement signed by Ismaila Abubakar, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development on Friday in Abuja.
He said the federal government was constrained to withdraw its recognition of the LMC with immediate effect.
Abubakar attributed the decision to the several unpleasant incidents regarding the management of the football league.
“This decision has become necessary because of the obvious aberration which is at variance with our football statutes or the laws of the land.
“Specifically, the declaration of the National Football League (NFL) as an illegal body by the Court; the status of the LMC and the NFL’s successor-in-title being outside the purview of the Statutes of the NFF.
“Also, is the situation whereby a private company is gifted the mandate to manage or run the league indefinitely,without the full involvement of and leadership by the clubs.
“This is also devoid of any process to monitor the progress and development of the game,” he said.
He said sequel to the above and in order to rescue the domestic football from total collapse, the board of the LMC would no longer be recognised by the federal government.
Abubakar advised the NFF to immediately withdraw the licence given to the LMC and, in the meantime, set up an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to avert further chaos in the domestic football.
He said that IMC should include the current Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the LMC, to oversee the affairs of the League until a proper board is constituted in accordance with the Statutes.
The All Nigerian Football Players Union (ANFPU), has called for better structure and sponsors for all tiers of football leagues in the country.
Abdul Sule, President of the Union told the News Agency of Nigeria that the league remains the soul of football development in any country.
The ex -international who lamented the state of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), said in spite the abundance of talents, stressed the need to change the narrative.
“There is need to urgently get sponsors for the league (NPFL), and how do you get sponsors?
the League must have a proper structure.
“The most important thing is the structure and the structure starts from the grassroots, we must have good facilities (pitches) and proper remuneration for our players and officials, ” he said.
He said the union would be working more closely with the clubs and League Management Company (LMC) to ensure better structure and welfare for players.
The former Stationery Stores FC player expressed optimism that once the right structures are put in place, the Nigerian league would be among the best in Africa.
The former Kogi United FC Chairman said, the Union had lined up series of workshops and seminars for former and active Nigerian footballers to enhance their capacity building and welfare.
He called on those looking for seats on the board of the next Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) board, to come up with policies that would fast-track the development of Nigerian football.
The Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has described the national football clubs as the fulcrum of Nigeria's domestic leagues, stating that they represent the common thread of Nigerian football development.
He intervenes by hosting the Club Owners Association headed by its president, Barr. Isaac Danladi, in his office at Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, the Minister emphasized that where national leagues lack a definitive licensing and enforcement governance structure, poor financial controls, inconsistent standards, the end result is a weak national team.
In his comments, Barr. Danladi applauded Dare's great strides in the sports sector over the past 3 years, stating that the reforms and innovations implemented were instrumental in Nigeria's brilliant performance at the World Championships in Athletics in Oregon and record-breaking feat at the Commonwealth Games.
just completed in Birmingham.
While congratulating the Minister on the 10-year Football Development Master Plan Report presented to President Muhammadu Buhari last week, Danladi expressed his optimism that with the early implementation of the report, club owners will play a leading role in the development of the nation's football, including Nigeria.
Football Federation (NFF) as members of its Congress.
The Minister praised the club owners for the work they are doing for the development of football throughout the country, and recognized the Ministry's awareness of the challenges faced by clubs and their owners.
“We are aware of the efforts made by the NFF and the League Management Company (LMC) to address some of these challenges, but we are not satisfied with the efforts that have been made.
The problems, the challenges, have been on display, but we have not seen a commensurate effort and commitment to create a league that is virile, profitable and that fits our reputation as a soccer-loving nation.
“As a Ministry that is mandated to oversee sports development and set the general direction, in terms of policy and initiatives for sports development of which football is important, we have conveyed our concerns to the necessary administrators, we have had time to sit down.
, we have had an exchange of correspondence and we believe that concerted efforts can bring about change”, said the Minister.
Dare expressed his optimism that with the presentation of the Football Master Plan Report to the President last week, the reforms needed to ensure that Nigerian football and its administration reach the enviable standard where the rules and structures of government follow international best practices.
“The opportunity of this courtesy call is important to pass on an important message, to echo what the President said.
Having been informed, he understands that our national league is weak, appreciates the problems and challenges and has promised to support not only the Ministry, but also the managers and owners of the clubs.
So we hope that the 10-year Football Master Plan Report will serve as a roadmap”, concluded the Minister.
Kwara United Football Club on Sunday at the Kwara State Stadium Complex in Ilorin defeated Nasarawa United FC of Lafia 3-0 in a 20212022 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fixture.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Match Day 36 fixture had fans returning to watch the home team in a while.
This was after a ban was placed on them by the League Management Company (LMC) for acts of violence by the home fans.
Jide Fatokun opened scoring for Kwara United in the 13th minute of the game, after he connected a well-taken corner-kick by Kabir Balogun.
Efforts to increase the tally in the first half proved abortive as Nasarawa United repulsed their several attacking moves.
Samad Kadir doubled the lead for the hosts in the 49th minute, after Junior Lokosa brilliantly assisted with a superb pass.
Lokosa completed the rout after scoring the third goal in the 67th minute.
Speaking at the post-match conference, Lookman Ijaiya, the coach of Kwara United, saluted his players for playing to instructions.
He noted that the team would improve its scoring efforts in the next two games, so as to wipe out the club’s goal deficit and be in good stead to compete with rivals.
Ijaiya expressed the hope that the ticket to play in the 20222023 CAF Confederation Cup competition could be obtained.
He urged the club’s supporters to rally round the team to achieve the dream, saying the fans’ return to the stadium had boosted the morale of his players.
His Nasarawa United counterpart, Bala Nikyu, on his part said the game was good and Kwara United were a better side by triumphing over his team.
Kwara United now have 55 points, and are placed fourth on the log after 36 games, and will take on MFM FC of Lagos on Sunday in Ilorin.
The Kwara Football Association has confirmed receiving provisional approval from the League Management Company (LMC) to re-admit fans to the Kwara sports stadium, Ilorin for Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) matches.
The Spokesman of the association, Bolaji Lawal in a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday, said the approval was in response to its appeals to the committee.
Lawal in the statement, said that the LMC granted the approval commencing from the tie between Kwara United and Nasarawa United in Ilorin, on July 3.
” The approval came with an understudy of the situation as the committee will not hesitate to rescind its decision if crowd control measures are not adequate.”
“Fans are therefore urged to come to the stadium, purchase tickets and conduct themselves in appropriate manner before, during and after the match.
“Any breach of law and order as stipulated by the LMC will result to further heavy sanctions on Kwara United.
“The club is presently gunning for a continental ticket in the 20212022 NPFL season,” the statement said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Kwara United were fined by the LMC and ordered to play behind closed doors following crowd violence at the facility.
“The violence occured in the club’s week 26 clash with Rivers United of Port Harcourt on May.1
Kwara United Football Club of Ilorin on Sunday defeated visiting Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan 3-1.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 20212022 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Match Day 28 encounter was played at the Kwara Stadium Complex, Ilorin, behind closed doors.
NAN recalls that the League Management Company (LMC) had last week fined Kwara United the sum of N1 million for their failure to stop fans from encroaching the technical area and the pitch after the match with Rivers United.
The hosts began brightly dictating the pace and the possession of the game, but they lacked the proper cutting edge to convert most of the goal scoring opportunities.
Alao Danbani had the first chance of the game to put the hosts ahead when put through on goal with a delightful pass from Isaiah Ejeh but couldn’t connect properly.
Moments later, Taofeeq Malomo of 3SC twice had a sight of Kwara United’s goal with long range efforts, coming close on both occasions.
Just when it seems the opening half will end in a stalemate, 3SC goalkeeper, Detan Ogundare, fumbled Samad Kadiri’s weak effort which slipped from his hands then under his leg to give Kwara United the lead in the last real action of the first half.
Coach Abdullahi Biffo made quick change on resumption with Ayobami Junior replacing Chinedu Udeagha to add more bite to the final third.
Moments later, Alao Danbani did well from the left to deliver a low cross for Issa Gata to tap home from close range on the hour mark to double the hosts lead.
3SC Head Coach, Edith Agoye, made multiple substituitions in search of a response with Moses Omoduemuke, Taofeeq Malomo and Nafiu Raheem going close, but Danbani once again kept tormenting the visitors left as he wriggles past two players to cross for Ayobami Junior to smash home inside the box in the 69th minute of play for 3-0.
The visitors, however, rallied late to pull one back in stoppage time (94) Opeoluwa Olufemi’s header to finish the game 3-1 in favour of Kwara United.
United stand in Coach, Lukman Ijaiya, expressed satisfaction on gathering the maximum points and commended his wards for staying committed to the game plan.
His opposite number, Kabir Alausa, of Shooting Stars, was disappointed with his team’s inability to utilise their chances in the course of the game.
The League Management Company (LMC) says it will ratify the December 17 start date and matches for the 2021/2022 season of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) at its General Assembly in Abuja.
Alloy Chukwuemeka, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) Club Owners Association, who confirmed this to the Nigerian News Agency on Friday, said that the General Assembly was scheduled for 7 December.
Chukwuemeka said the start date was agreed at a meeting held in Lagos between LMC executives, representatives of the Club Owners Association and LMC directors.
He revealed that the all-important LMC General Assembly in Abuja, among other items / agenda, would discuss and ratify the new NPFL season date as proposed.
Based on available matches, the league's first round is expected to begin on December 17 and end with matchday 19 matches on March 20, 2022.
There would be a one-week break before the resumption of the second round, which is expected to begin on March 27, and end the season with matchday 38 matches on July 17, 2022.
The NPFL club owner scribe also revealed that the LMC had introduced an asymmetric match list for the 2021/2022 campaign.
He said the matches were expected to be less predictable and more exciting.
Matchday 1 matches are expected to be played at 10 centers across the country starting at 4:00 pm as follows: Gombe United v Shooting Stars, Akwa United v Kano Pillars and Lobi Stars v Rivers United.
Others are, Katsina United v Rangers International, Enyimba v Abia Warriors, Sunshine Stars v Wikki Tourist, Niger Tornadoes v Plateau United.
Also corrected were Kwara United v Dakkada, MFM FC v Remo Stars and Heartland v Nasarawa United.
By Nicholas Obisike
The Spanish La Liga / Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Under-15 Tournament kicked off in Enugu on Thursday, the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reported.
The NPFL and Spanish La Liga sponsored tournament has the Enugu State Government and the League Management Company (LMC) as co-hosts.
In the opening match of the day, Enyimba International Under-15 Football Club of Aba held their Dakkada FC counterparts in Uyo to a 1-1 draw.
The match was decided in the main bowl of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu.
Dakkada FC's Emmanuel Edem opened the scoring in the 28th minute, while Enyimba FC equalized in the 59th minute thanks to Chidiuto Emelda.
In other matches, Jigawa Golden Stars FC had a goalless draw with Kwara United FC, while Akwa United FC in Uyo beat Abia Warriors FC in Umuahia 1-0.
Samuel Effiong scored the only goal of the game in the 48th minute.
In an interview, Akwa United head coach Edward Green praised his players for their resilience which helped them win the game.
Green, however, said the players still have enough room to improve during the competition.
In addition, Abia Warriors FC head coach Emenike Ezeugwu said he was happy with his team's performance despite the loss.
"The team did not have enough time to prepare before the start of the tournament due to the short notice given to us," he said.
The coach said the club still have three games to play in the tournament and he expects players to respond positively in subsequent games.
The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reports that the tournament will end on May 2. (NOPE)(NAN)
Rangers International FC of Enugu has intensified its training session ahead of the Dec. 6 kick off of the Nigeria Professional Football League, an official has said.
The Media Officer of the club, Norbert Okolie, made this known to newsmen on Tuesday in Enugu.
Okolie said that the fixture released by the League Management Company (LMC) showed that Rangers would trade tackles with Rivers United of Port Harcourt in the first week of the league.
He said, “All the players penciled down to defend the colours of the the club went through the training under the watchful eyes of the Technical Adviser, Salisu Yusuf, and his deputies.”
He said that only the club attacking sensation, Shedrack Asiegbu, said to be going through a treatment regime, was exempted from training.
Okolie quoted Nigeria-born Benin international, Loute Isaac, as saying he was hopeful that the club would be in contention on two fronts in the upcoming season.
“Surely, it has been very tough since the start of the pre-season but we need to go through it for us to achieve success at the end of the season.
”With what we are being put through, I believe we are aiming for the top and we are targeting to be double champions,” he said.
Loute said that the club needed to avoid a repeat of its experience last season in order to start and finish the league on top.
Edited By: Sam Oditah