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Bayo Adegboyega

Since the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League began, it has been one accolade or the other for the League governing body, the LMC.

The praises are coming in bulk, if it’s not about defiling odds to begin the season this year, it would be about having matches on Television for the first time in a long while.

The NPFL TV online where people from across the world can see the local league from the comfort of their room is also a plus, one which deserves thumbs up.

These things may be too cheap to be celebrated judging by what we have in some African countries, but considering where we were coming from and the havoc wrecked on our Football by Covid-19, it’s not out of place to give kudos to the LMC.

However, one major ill wind that is blowing the league no good is the issue of indebtedness, it is also very unfortunate that the LMC with all the beautiful structures in place for the new season is not firm in taking decisions.

In a situation where you expect the LMC to hammer erring clubs on indebtedness, a pat in the back is what the clubs are getting.

With facts, teams like Enyimba, Wikki Tourists, FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Abia Warriors, Kwara United, Kano Pillars, Warri Wolves and Heartland, just to mention a few are still owing some of their current and former players.

Despite the framework frowning at indebtedness, the LMC has refused to interprete what it states and would rather allow the clubs to owe without taking action.

Some players have made official complaints to the LMC in line with the regulations but it seems they are still going to groan in lack and beg for meal tickets since the LMC has proven again to be a toothless bulldog that can bark but can’t bite.

Article 9.45 of the LMC Framework talks about overdue Payables.

9.45.1 says Clubs are required to comply with their financial obligations
towards players, employees and other clubs as per the terms
stipulated in the contracts signed with their professional players,
employees and in the transfer agreements.

9.45.4 states clearly that Within the scope of its disciplinary jurisdiction, the LMC may
impose the following sanctions:
9.45.4.1. a warning;
9.45.4.2. a reprimand;
9.45.4.3. a fine;
9.45.4.4. a ban from registering any new players for one or two
entire and consecutive registration periods;
9.45.4.5. confiscation or withholding of proceeds accruing to the
Club from the transfer or sale of Players and using such funds to settle the overdue payables.

Recall that the LMC banned Heartland from registering new players for two years last season for failing in their part to honour contracts with former players Alfred Segun Fatunwase and Okereke Mmaduabuchi Peter.

Sunshine Stars were also at some point denied the opportunity to prosecute a game with their new players due to same reason, they were comprehensively beaten and they did the needful almost immediately.

To this end, the LMC should know that there is a need to implement the rules governing the league, else, clubs will decide not to pay players again.

While I commend the LMC for a job well done so far through the match day one fixtures, I also advise that it looks into the issue of overdue payables so as not to allow some owing teams tarnish its image in a season that has been envisaged to be a very successful one on all front.

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