Francis Sadhere

Members of the Association of Professional Footballers of Nigeria (APFON) have lambasted the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), for their refusal to implement the 2010 arbitration committee decision which says that players owed by various clubs be paid.

NFF President, Aminu Maigari

Speaking at a press conference with sports writers at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Warri Correspondents Chapel Press Centre, Warri, ahead of the NFF annual general meeting, the Executive Secretary the players union Comrade Austin Popo lamented the position the football body NFF has taken since 2010 noting that it shows total neglect on those who have served the country in time past.

He revealed that the sum of #250 million naira for cases already decided is being owed various players and that over #750 million naira in all which is dangerous and not encouraging knowing full well that NFF changes administration often which will leave them with no option than saying it was not during their administration that the money were owed.

The ex International and former New Nigerian bank player also said that they have gained support from Trade Union Congress TUC to give them official backing to achieve their aim and that APFON will also seek redress in the law  court if every effort to get the money paid prove abortive.

Popo also said that it was suppose to be a protest but counsel from a bigwig of the Delta state F.A made him retrace his steps and instead decided to brief the press on the recent development.

“Initially we were supposed to stage a protest rally over the insensitive posture of the Nigerian football Federation. There were threats here and there but we decided instead to hold a press conference. Since 2010 NFF failed to implement the decision reached on money owed players”

Popo said that some players and coaches have died without collecting their monies. He added that APFON is not alone in this fight as the coaches association is also wholeheartedly supporting them as most of them are also owed.

He blamed problem of Nigerian League on NFF saying that football would have developed beyond its present state if NNF had done the right thing in terms of administration of the game.

He lamented that the league was dropping standard because of this situation adding that according to FIFA rules, players are supposed to have contracts  and a copy given to them but the reverse was the case and NFF should be blamed as they don’t have a regulating committee.

He also added that (TUC) Trade Union Congress was working on something and in due course they would have the backing to shut out stadia to drive home their point if these monies were not paid and other demands were not met.

Popo will go on to praise the LMC Chairman Nduka Irabor for being sensitive on the matter and that being an honourable man, he knows that he will shut out clubs who are owing players.