From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) has called for the intervention of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the plight and maltreatment of Nigerian domestic players by their clubs.
According to a statement issued on Tuesday by ICPC Spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, PFAN President Tijjani Babangida pleaded for the Commission’s intervention in protecting the players’ welfare and jobs at their Nigerian Clubs during a courtesy visit to the ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye.
Babangida, who was accompanied on the visit by a former Super Eagles player, Emmanuel Babayaro, condemned the exploitation of Nigerian players by their clubs in the signing of agreements and payment of salaries and allowances.
‘The Nigerian player is one of the most negatively exploited in the world and back home in Nigeria, it is even worse,’ he said.
‘From non-payment of salaries and allowances despite a contractual agreement to the sacking of players at the beginning or middle of their contracts without payment, and official bloating of players’ wages while paying them peanuts, these have been the plight of Nigerian players.’
Babangida stated that the Association would like to partner with ICPC in the sanitisation of the football system in the country, particularly with regards to ethics and professionalism.
‘Considering the role played by Nigerian footballers in the interest of national integration, they are treated like slaves. The plight of the Nigerian player has become pitiable, a situation that calls for emergency intervention,’ he added.
The PFAN president further decried the misappropriation of funds by the body saddled with the responsibility of managing the affairs of football in the country.
The Association expressed the hope that the ICPC’s intervention will help the system to function properly.
The ICPC Chairman acknowledged the contributions and services rendered by the former national team players, commending their passion for the country.
He advised the Association to come up with a standard contract document for its members to guard against exploitation by their employers as well as engage an attorney who specialises in sports.
He assured that the Commission will look into the partnership request by the association for the improvement of the game in the country.