The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN)- the umbrella body of sports journalist in the country, has strongly petitioned the Federal Government to make a bold bailout for the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, and make it commercially viable and attractive all-round as obtainable in big leagues overseas.
Professional football league started in Nigeria in 1990, but it has been plagued and stagnated with many problems. The inaugural Nigeria Premier League (NPL) managed by Nigeria Football League (NFL) was abolished and replaced by NPFL managed by League Management Company (LMC) from 2012.
Despite improvements so far recorded by LMC with the NPFL, the country’s top tier league is still rated as glorified amateur league, lacking stable sponsorship, television broadcast and appeal to Nigerian football fans.
The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) wants the Federal Government to take more than a cursory interest in the NPFL with a view to supporting it towards delivering on its potentials; which would in turn create employment, boost the economy and generate revenue.
“This call is coming on the backdrop of the 2019/2020 NPFL season billed to kick-off this weekend, without any hope of television broadcast for the games,” SWAN said in a Statement signed by its General Secretary Jude Opara.
“SWAN strongly believes that the NPFL needs support and upliftment now, than ever, particularly, with live broadcast.
“It is therefore imperative for the federal government to direct its thought to the league and support the development of an industry that can effectively contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Football leagues across the world have grown into big industries, impacting on the economic, social and cultural life of the people and, ours should not be different.
“It is no longer tenable for critical stakeholders to just sit and watch while foreign leagues continue to colonise the interest of our fans, enjoy their patronage and even the sponsorship and promotion of our corporate organisations who rely on them to penetrate our local population.
“It’s regrettable that since Supersport pulled out of the broadcast deal with NPFL, the league has been off air for two years. As it were, a new season is about to kick off without any assurance of being on TV. If the league is not broadcast, it may not attract brand sponsorships and the clubs won’t grow; meaning that the league cannot secure its full potentials.
“SWAN is also compelled to enlist the federal government to emulate the South African example where the Premier Soccer league has been kept alive and made available to the citizenry, via South Africa Broadcasting Corporation which was empowered by government to purchase broadcast right for the league, thereby reducing attraction to capital flights in the consumption and corporate promotion of foreign football products.
“SWAN recalls that the English Premier league that is admired today was established with a grant of £150m to the founding clubs for upgrade of facilities. We need to learn from these examples towards nation building.
“We suggest that the federal government should, as a matter of urgency, bring the Ministries of Industry and Investment; Information and Culture as well as Youth and Sports Development to interface with a view to building capacity, and strengthening the broadcast sector to play its role in the sustenance and growth of the league.”Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.