30th September, 2010
There are indications that all is not well in the Nigerian football league as the countryÂ celebrates her 50th independence anniversary.
It has emerged that 26 professional clubs in the Nigerian league, including theÂ top-flight, are hugely indebted to players and coaches to the tune of N350 million.
A playerâ€™s agent licensed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Yusuf, madeÂ this staggering discovery to SuperSport.com.
Yusuf, who manages close to 70 per cent of the players in the Premier League and theÂ lower division, revealed that he is in possession of documents that verify that 26 clubsÂ are indebted to players and coaches in the countryâ€™s league to the tune of more thanÂ N350m.
â€œI have documents to back my claims of no less than 26 clubs owing players in the leagueÂ more than N350m.
These are verified debts by the playersâ€™ status and arbitration committee of the NFF.
All of the clubs summoned to that hearing were there and know this fact. So, we must knowÂ that the players are the most important in the scheme of the league because without them,Â others cannot exist in the first place,â€ Yusuf pointed out.
The playerâ€™s agent, however, refused to name the clubs but SuperSport.com got wind ofÂ documents of three clubs,Â Akwa United, Dolphin Football Club and Warri Wolves, on theÂ issue.
The three clubs, according to the document, owe players and coaches a combined sum ofÂ close to N100m (about $660,000).
But Yusuf added that unofficially the debt of clubs in the Premier League and the NigeriaÂ National League (NNL) also known as the National Division I League should be in theÂ region of N5billion.Â He said this cannot be ascertained since so many players in theÂ league do not have written contracts.