LMC’s Chief Operating Officer, Salihu Abubakar disclosed that defaulting clubs would not be cleared to play in the elite league until they demonstrate clean bill of health.
According to him, the LMC has given all clubs up to February 10 to settle all backlogs of entitlements of players and coaches arising from the 2014/2015 season. He explained that LMC has the mandate of the Nigeria Football Federation to ensure that a club with liabilities doesn’t participate in the new season.
“It’s the NFF position which tallies with our position because the players are the main actors in this game and if we don’t take care of their welfare, the whole game will crash.
“So, we are serious about it; we have a list of eight clubs that was sent to us by the NFF and between now and when we finish registration, if they don’t pay up, they will not be registered”, Abubakar said.
“I assure you we will enforce that. You have to understand that there is an intention behind sanctions and you do it to be able to get results from these clubs; what is the result in this case? We want the players to be paid,” he added.
According to him, about 16 out of the 20 participating clubs in the NPFL have already scaled the welfare rules hurdle and the remaining four won’t be spared if they fail to meet the deadline.
“At the last count, we have had about 16 clubs that were able to meet up with our requirements, so, I think it is a good starting point and you have to realise that also in the regulations, the main actor is the NFF not the LMC.
“Whatever we are doing is just to try to muscle the clubs to make the payment. The players’ arbitration committee is with the NFF; all the regulations are under the NFF. It is the NFF that will enforce and now that they have told us to enforce, it is in our hands, we will enforce,’’ he stressed.
According to him, failure to do such, the clubs must provide an acceptable financial guarantee instruments to secure the payments as well as tentative payment plan from the clubs’ proprietors.
To ensure things go smoothly, the LMC has since set a deadline of February 15 for the issuance of the NFF Club Licensing Certificate as directed by CAF to clubs that have met the minimum criteria for participation in the 2015/2016 NPFL season.
Salihu also explained that kick off of the 2015/2016 NPFL season was shifted to February 21 to enable league players settle down after some of them participated in the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) tournament.
By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)