On Tuesday, the Nigeria Football Federation announced a nine-point integrity strategy, which if fully implemented will lead to transparency and growth of the game in the country.
The strategy intends to put a stop to several illegal actions by officials in football, one of the biggest being federation and state officials playing the roles of football agents who push their players into national teams.
Below is the entire strategy guideline:
1) It is observed that members of the Match Commissioners Committee do appoint themselves as Match Commissioners in our League Games. This act portends a great danger in terms of transparency and prevention of any possible exploitation. In view of the above, the NFF Match Commissioners Committee shall no longer be allowed to appoint themselves as Match Commissioners in our Leagues.
2) It is observed that members of the Referees Appointment Committee do appoint themselves as Referee Assessors in our League Games. This act portends a great danger in terms of transparency and prevention of any possible exploitation. In view of the above, the NFF Referees Appointment Committee members shall no longer be allowed to appoint themselves as Referee Assessors in our Leagues.
3) Also, we have observed that some Club Officials are currently operating as Match Commissioners in some strata of our Leagues. In view of these reforms, no Club Official should be appointed as a Match Commissioner in any of our Leagues in Nigeria.
4) Also, we advise that no State Football Association Secretary should be appointed as a Club Secretary, considering the fact that the State FA Secretaries in most cases are chief organizers of matches within their territories.
5) State Football Association Chairmen that are appointed as Independent Directors in our Leagues should no longer be appointed as Match Commissioners in our League games.
6) State Football Association Chairmen should not be doubling as Football Club Chairmen, hence all State FA Chairmen that are holding dual offices as Club Chairmen are advised to either relinquish the State FA Chairmanship position or that of Club Chairmanship position within three (3) months from the date of this circular.
7) State FA Chairmen that are also appointed as Members of Football Club Boards are to also decide to either be Club Board Members or State FA Chairmen as they are henceforth not allowed to hold dual position forthwith.
8) All NFF Executive Committee Members, NFF Management and Staff, State Football Association Chairmen and their respective Board Members, Club Chairmen and Officials, Coaches and all other Football Officials are hereby directed to desist from acting as Intermediaries (Agents/Managers) to players forthwith.
9) The General Secretary stated that any official that fails to observe the above shall be summoned before the Ethics Committee of NFF for breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics and the NFF Integrity Initiative Strategy Guideline.
Note that it is a guideline and it will only be effective if properly followed up. Nigerian organisations are notoriously adept at drawing up grand guidelines that are hardly implemented. This week I have been closely examining the Nigeria National Sport Policy but realised that much of the good in there has not been implemented to the letter.
Senior journalist Osasu Obayiuwana responded to my tweet on Tuesday thus: “Papers, even good ones, are one thing. But as always in Nigeria, it is about IMPLEMENTATION.”
Papers, even good ones, are one thing. But as always in Nigeria, it is about IMPLEMENTATION. https://t.co/4uf3iyutAZ
— Osasu Obayiuwana (@osasuo) February 1, 2017
I hope that the NFF’s Ethics Committee will see to it that these guidelines are adhered to over the coming weeks and months. It is the only way to clean up our beloved sport.