By George Aluo
The umbrella body of Nigerian footballers, NANPF has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly intervene in the latest drama rocking Nigerian football by calling his sports minister, Solomon Dalung to order.
NANPF in a statement released yesterday said the step Dalung has taken is capable of ruining the nation’s football.
NANPF’s release stated in part: “The attention of the National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers (NANPF) has been drawn to a statement purportedly issued on the instruction of the Minister of Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, directing the NFF to comply with the Supreme court orders effecting a change of leadership in the NFF.
As the official representatives platform of all Nigeria Professional Footballers with the statutory mandate to protect and promote the rights and interest of Nigeria Professional Footballers, we wish to call on Mr President, Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari to swiftly intervene by calling the honorable Minister of Sports to thread with caution…”
NANPF noted that Dalung’s directive and the sacking of NFF board would have far reaching implications on the lives and career of millions of Nigerian youths involved in the round leather game.
“It is unfortunate that certain individuals and group of Nigerians for their selfish and personal interest continue to pursue agenda targeted at disrupting the smooth running and administration of football in Nigeria without any form of consideration for the lives and career of the main actors , the athletes which their actions is capable of destroying,” NANPF further stated.
NANPF stressed that Nigeria as an affiliate of FIFA should respect the rules of the game.
“FIFA has consistently maintained that Football matters should not be taken to local courts . The Union is aware that the Giwa Vs NFF matter has been taken to the highest Court of Sports Arbitration in Switzerland . FIFA is only bound by the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sports. NANPF is also aware that FIFA has since upheld the decision of the Court of Arbitration on this matter by recognising the NFF Board led by Amaju Pinnick. Therefore the obvious implication on the current imbroglio is that any attempt to act contrary to the decision of the Court of Arbitration of Sports, will spell doom for Nigeria Football and by extension the lives and career of Nigeria Professional Footballers as FIFA will definitely impose a lengthy ban on Nigeria from all football competitions locally and internationally. Our pain and concern, just like millions of other sports loving Nigerians is the consequences this would have on the country. As a body, we therefore urge the President and Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently reverse the position of the Minister of Sports and save Nigerian Football and Footballers from collapse.”