27th September, 2016
Imo Government says it is ready to concession sports, including Heartland FC to enable the sector to be more effective.
The state Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Sidney Ajaelu, announced the concession in Owerri on Tuesday while briefing newsmen.
Ajaelu said that the concession would help to lift Heartland FC to greater heights.
According to him, the arrangement will be strictly on Public Private Partnership (PPP).
Ajaelu said that those interested to take over the sports sector should approach government for the proposal.
“All over the world, sports are being managed by private individuals to be result-oriented.
“Imo government wants to make sports a serious business, and we believe that PPP arrangement will strengthen it,” he said.
The commissioner denied that the concession was due to poor performance of the club, and confirmed that all sporting activities in the state were included in the arrangement.
Ajaelu said that the government would ensure a level playing ground for bidders.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Heartland FC recorded the worst season in 2016 in the history of the club.
The club will face Plateau United on Sunday to determine its fate on the relegation threat confronting it.
A football analyst and member of the Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN) in the state, Mr Theodore Tasie, has, however, condemned the concession plan.
“This may not be the best time to concession the club, considering its present situation,” he said.
Tasie said that the proposal could distract the club being confronted by relegation threat.
He said that it would be difficult to concession the club at this period of economic recession.
The sports analyst noted that during the era of Spartans FC, the state government could not finance the club, and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawu took over the club and renamed it Iwuanyawu Nationale FC.