Mohammed Targets Nigerian Brands •Wants To Change NBC Code •Desires Sponsorship For Local League

By cattnews on July 26, 2017

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Mohammed
Mohammed

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has suddenly been blowing hot lately, albeit, unnecessarily. 

Mohammed says the Federal Government will amend the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Code to compel brands to sponsor Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) 
The minister stated this at the close of the ‘Two-Day Creative Industry Financing Conference’ sponsored by the ministry in conjunction with Think Tank Media and Advertising in Lagos.
“We will amend the NBC Code to ensure that our Premier league improves.
“We will make sure that in the code, if you spend one million dollars to support a foreign football club like Manchester United in Nigeria, you will not be allowed to air that programme unless you spend 30 per cent of that money to promote Nigeria’s league.
“Some beverage companies in Nigeria support Manchester United (Man U), Arsenal and others and spend about $6 million a year.”

Before the FG as represented by Mohammed continued in  this intended direction, it is advisable for it to stop and ask itself one simple question: why are overseas companies (not only from Nigeria) throwing monies at the EPL?

The answer is simple- Profitability.

The EPL is profitable, while the NPFL is not.

And should Mohammed bend the rules to make these companies spend their money on Nigeria NPFL, the approach won’t last, because these companies will lose interest in the local league which has failed to attract the interest of their consumers in Nigeria.

What Mohammed should realise is that most Nigerians have little or no interest in the local league because it is not well packaged.

Successive administrations at both the federal and state levels have trampled on the league endlessly and the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) is doing the same thing.

The solution is simple, should Mohammed be looking for where to direct his energy, he need to consider the need to overhaul the league structure instead of throwing monies into it, that would have little or no effect.

And this obviously, cannot be done unilaterally, he would need to liaise with the Ministry of Sports.

One has to give it to the sports minister, Solomon Dalung; he was courageous enough to confess when he was made sports minister that he does not know much about sports but then what sort of a party is APC and its presidential candidate Mohammadu Buhari, when both decided to place a person who has little knowledge of the workings of a particular ministry in charge of it. That is called recipe for disaster!

Moving forward, the two ministries need to sit down and fashion out how to package the country’s local league to make it attractive and profitable. This would require contributions from the stakeholders such as the League Management Company (LMC), owners of football clubs (individuals and states) and the referees association.

The issues at stake include welfare of the players and the technical crew, welfare and safety of referees, need for befitting professional league football stadia (and not just sports stadia), quality live coverage of match fixtures by both radio and television stations (this is where the National Television Authority {NTA} and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria {FRCN} comes in).

It is a matter of fact that no radio or television station in Nigeria-both private and public- has the capacity to broadcast live all the country’s league fixtures, even NTA and FRCN.

Why are brands from other country’s patronizing the EPL and other European leagues? 

The answer is in the way these countries organize, market, promote and present their league matches and also treat their players and club managers.

In these countries football is strictly business. The fans and supporters of these clubs are also awesome.

Nigeria’s local league was heading towards that direction once, things started falling apart around the time the IICC (Industrial Investment and Credit Corporation) Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan changed its name to 3SC FC. 

Back then, clubs such as Stationery Stores FC of Lagos, Rangers International FC of Enugu (not the present one), Bendel Insurance FC of Benin, old Mighty Jets FC of Jos, Sharks FC of Port Harcourt and others boast of fans, supporters and crowd that can fill any stadium, no matter the capacity.

A club’s fan base is its strength, this is talking about fans who place football over religion or second to religion.

This is the reason behind the present success being recorded in Europe.

Probably, the last of the proper clubs were Abiola Babes FC of Abeokuta and Leventis United FC of Ibadan, the league in Nigeria went comatose around the time of the June 12 crisis.

The saga and the attendant fallout had serious effect on the country’s football culture, the economy which was also fast deteriorating did not help matters.

Although the league and its organisers managed to keep the game going, it was never the same.

It is the vacuum created that resulted in the emerging youths of today turning towards foreign football leagues that served the right content.

The worsening economy which forced the country’s players to seek greener pastures outside the country does not help matters.

The ever growing sophistication of the managers of the game in Europe and the fast paced modernization of the sport crowded out the local league from the minds of Nigerians, because it has little or no appeal.

The organized private sector (OPS) has never been found wanting, Cadbury Nigeria Plc through its Bournvita Brand contributed to the development of the league, construction giant, Julius Berger once run a club.

The present league once had MTN Nigeria as sponsor and also Glo, but the league has to be reinvigorated, club owners most understand the need to reposition their clubs to make them attract the desired followership that would translate into profit and money.

The last club to have amassed tremendous fan base and support in this democratic dispensation is the Eyinmba FC of Aba, when it won the continental trophy back to back, but the mind behind the success, former governor Orji Uzor Kalu soon squandered all the club’s goodwill through fraudulent acts.

The country’s league is full of struggling teams, whose players are bent on going overseas to play because of the unhealthy manner the owners and managers of the clubs are treating them. It is disgraceful and a thing of shame the way Gov. Darius Ishaku treated players of Taraba United FC. Report coming from Enugu concerning the way and manner Christian Chukwu is managing the club also leaves a bad taste in the mouth. As a former player, captain and coach of the club, and also of the National Team, one would expect a better behavior from him, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi need to call him to order.

It is a good sign that interests are coming in from unexpected quarters, the MFM FC, is an example of the desire of Nigerians to see the league function and succeed, if the federal government wants to help out, the right direction would require an overhaul and repositioning of the league.

Last April’s LMC disclosure that eight Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs will be listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) between September and October 2017 is equally a step in the right direction.

Such development would mark a new phase in the history of professional football in Nigeria.

The minister should be ready to fund and equip relevant organisations under his ministry to promote the local league through the broadcast of live matches, at least, that would be a good start.  

Then brands would voluntarily express sponsorship interest and not need to be forced. 

Source cattnews

Posted 26/07/2017 01:20:17 AM

 

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