By Femi Atolagbe
The management and technical crew of Bendel Insurance, Benin has faulted the NPFL votes for cancellation of the NNL, NLO and women league in the country, warning the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Federal Ministry of Sports of its dangerous consequences.
The disapproval of the votes for cancellation of all football leagues in the country was contained in a statement signed by the club’s Secretary, Charles Ihimekpen,
Ihimekpen states that “The lower leagues club owners and players already felt treated with disdain by the ignoble proposed cancelation of all leagues in Nigeria by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and representatives of the 20 clubs participating in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL)
“Bendel Insurance FC consider the unilateral decision by NPFL Club Owners as undemocratic and unacceptable as other stakeholders in the nation’s Football leagues viz – NNL, Nigerian Women’s League and Nationwide League were not carried along in the unpopular decision.
“We wish to remind all stakeholders that NNL is not an appendage of NPFL, and so, should not be subjected to the dictates of the premier league management.
Ihimekpen also berated the fact that none of the 42 clubs in NNL was invited to attend the meeting where the votes were cast, saying that the NFF should not to use the Coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to end the NNL without champions and promotion of clubs.
“NFF and other football stakeholders should be reminded that Football Clubs are not run with water but money. It begins with development plans, registration of players; payment of clearance fees; payment of salaries which is statutory and unuttered in Bendel Insurance and others as well as other logistics going side by side.
“Our employers have invested heavily on our team, now, what reports are we going to give them, that the league is terminated without us making any inputs in the decision?
“Our demand is that the matter be urgently looked into again by the Honourable Minister ,NFF and other relevant stakeholders with a view to reaching a common ground on the best and more acceptable way to end the NNL”, he states.
He therefore advised the NFF and the Ministry of Sports to consider the modality used for the 2017/2018 season, suggesting that “top eight clubs across the four groups (NNL)be picked and play super eight tournament to finish the league where four best finishers can join the NPFL for abridged 2021 season”