From ROMANUS UGWU, Abuja
There is light at the end of the tunnel over the arrears of money the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and other sports federations owed their coaches and players, as President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the funds to offset the backlog of debts.
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, who made the disclosure blamed the delay to the transition in government, pleading that it was not deliberate.
While answering questions from journalists in Abuja on Monday, the minister argued that it will not be in the interest of sports should Nigerians continue to view the paucity of fund from the perspective of football federation and players alone, stressing that athletes in Port Harcourt were also passing through the same situation.
Asked what the arrangements he is putting in place to combat the financial crisis, the Minister said: “The financial crisis that has affected the football federation has to do with the transition in government the country went through.
“You will agree with me that we could not even proceed with the organisation of the National Sports Festival, the National Youth Games which could not hold last year because of the transition. The transition also affected the funding of other federations which went a long way in affecting preparations for tournaments and qualifiers.
“The good news is that we have been able to secure the approval of Mr President for the release of funds to be able to pay some of those bonuses, salaries and other arrears owed the players and officials by the NFF and other sports federations.
“I can assure you that in no little time, we shall be able to overcome such kind of problems in almost all the federations. We have athletes currently camping in Port Harcourt facing the same challenge but as I said, it will soon be an issue of history. I appeal to them that it was not deliberate,” he pleaded.