Journal Vol.1 Issue.3

Wale lrokosu  with first hand experiences of the cause of the accident often die in the accident. The other persons who would be in the position to give useful evidence on the cause of accident are often industry stakeholders. They may not be encouraged to give useful insight as to the cause of the accidents to avoid lawsuits or liability for the accident.  The procedures for air accident investigations were first laid down in 1928 by the US National Advisory  Committee for Aeronautics. They required air accident investigators to…  To be continued on page 3  11  LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 12  WEIRD CASES  November 2014 Vol 1 Issue 1

The Nigeria Premier League is the highest level of domestic football in Nigeria with 20 teams. The league was founded in 1972 with six teams and was subsequently renamed the “Professional League” in 1990.  The Federal Government promulgated Decrees 10 and 11, which codified the introduction of professional football in Nigeria and stipulated that professional clubs should run as limited liability companies.  Teams like Iwuanyanwu Nationale / Heartland F.C. (Owerri), Shooting Stars F.C. (Ibadan), Rangers International (Enugu), Stationery Stores (Lagos) and Bendel Insurance F.C. (Benin City), emerged. They had large fan support and their fans will travel several distance to cheer them (in away fixtures), this was an evidence of the growth of football in Nigeria.  The modern premier league era in Nigeria began in 2003, when the Nigerian Football Association inaugurated an interim committee to manage the league.

It is imperative to state that the overbearing influence and interference of the government and the failure to privatise the management of the league led to its almost total collapse.  In other parts of the world, there is less  Probitas Law Journal | 02  interference by government in the administration and management of football. For instance, the English Premier League (E.P.L.), Spanish La Liga (Liga de FutbolProfesional (L.F.P.), German Bundesliga and the Serie A League, have structures that encourage investment in football and minimal interference by the government.  The E.P.L was founded on 20th February, 1992, as a limited liability company, when the English League was facing similar challenges to the One encountered by the Nigeria premier League, which were poor management as well as low funding.  The E.P.L. is a corporation of 20 member clubs, which are owners and act as shareholders having one vote each on issues such as rule changes and contracts.  The E.PLL. is the most lucrative league in the world having generated revenue of £2,900,000,000 (Two Billion Nine Hundred Million Euros) in the 2012/2013 season. The E.P.L. generates the highest revenue of any football league in the world and it is the second most profitable after the German Bundesliga. The Bundesliga is more profitable because of its wage to revenue generation ratio.  The Football Associations of the above  THE LEGAL STRUCTURE OF THE NIGERIA PREMIER LEAGUE  – Lekan Dairo  mentioned leagues are not directly involved in the day-to-day operations of professional football in their respective countries.  However, the Football Associations might have certain rights exclusively exercisable by them. For instance, the English Football Association, has veto power as a special shareholder during the election of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and when new rules are adopted by the league.

In Nigeria, the different administrations of the N.F.A. managed the league through several governing bodies and the last of which was the Nigerian Football League Limited (N.F.L.) incorporated in 2006.  However, the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, declared the N.F.L., which was managing the Nigeria premier League illegal in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/179/2010 between DR. SAM JAJA V. THE NIGERIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE &4 OTHERS  Consequently, the League Management Company (L.M.C.) was incorporated in 2012 and it was issued the license of the football governing body, N.F.A., to manage and run a transparent and commercially sustainable professional premier league.

The purpose of setting up the L.M.C is to prevent the collapse of the Nigeria premier League, which was overwhelmed by legal, contractual, administrative and financial impediments (low funding and lack of publicity/promotion).  Upon incorporation, promoters of L.M.C. were allotted 25% shares, the N.F.A. Chairman, as the representative of the association holds 5% of the allotted shares, whilst the Chairman (Rt. Hon. Ndukalrabor) of the Interim League Management Committee holds 20% in trust.  The L.M.C. will be owned by 4 (Four) parties namely: the NFA; participating clubs; Institutional Investors and the general public. This ownership structure will enhance the development of professional football in Nigeria by encouraging individuals and companies to investin football.

Also, the ownership structure of L.M.C. is similar to what is obtainable in the English Premier League (E.P.L.), Spanish La Liga (Liga de FutbolProfesional (L.F.P.), German Bundesliga and the Serie ALeague.  Itis imperative to state that Section 1 of the Nigerian Football Association Act, Cap. N110, Laws of the Federation 2004 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”), which established the football governing body, N.F.A., empowers N.F.A. to run and manage the professional league.  By virtue of Section 2 (a) of the Act which states the aims and objectives of N.F.A., provides that:  “The aims and objects of the Association are to-  (a) encourage the development of all forms of amateur and professional football in accordance with the statutes and laws of the Federation of the sport of football, and of any other international football body to which the Association is affiliated…”

Also, Section 6 of the Act states that the functions of the Board of the N.F.A., shall include to “organise league and other matches for professional and  Probitas Law Jourmal | 06  Unlimited  Sterling Bank  The one customer bari.  ray Nigeria Professional Football League  oa. 06-05-2013  #8 1,896,730,000 ‘nesumor ONE BILLION, EIGHT HUNDRED AND NINETY-SIX MILLION,  SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY THOUSAND NAIRA ONLY  amateur clubs in co-operation with the respective bodies recognised by the Association”.

In view of the provisions of Sections 2 and 6 of the Act, the N.F.A. is saddled with the legal responsibility and power to manage, run and organise the development of football in Nigeria, either at the amateur or professional level and also it has the power to assign or licence an association or a body corporate to manage and organise the league.  Also, N.F.A.’s decision to licence L.M.C. to organise the Nigeria Premier League, is in conformity with Article 17 of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Statutes, that guarantees independence of Football Associations, the Article provides as follows:

1. “Each Member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.
2. A Member’s bodies shall be either elected or appointed in that Association. A Member’s siatutes Shall provide for a procedure that guarantees the complete independence of the election or appointment.
3. Any Member’s bodies that have not been elected or appointed in  Unlimited  compliance with the provisions of par. 1, even onan interim basis shall not be recognised by FIFA.
4. Decisions passed by bodies that have not been elected or appointed in compliance with par.  1 shall not be recognized by FIFA.”  It will suffice to note that the birth of L.M.C. will tremendously help in developing football in Nigeria, as there will be less interference in the management of football in Nigeria by the Government and will promote the development of professional football in Nigeria.  For instance, Globacom, sometime in May, 2013, signed a 3 year contract (worth N1,896,730,000 (One Billion, Eight Hundred and Ninety-Six Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty Thousand Naira) with the L.M.C. for the sponsorship of the Nigeria Premier League, this will encourage other prospective investor to consider financing the Nigeria Premier League.  Thus, the challenges of mismanagement, low funding and lack of publicity/promotion, which were hitherto faced by the Nigeria premier League will be brought into oblivion.

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