LMC’s threat to Nigerian companies is ridiculous

By Aiyeku Timothy August 17, 2015 16:10

LMC’s threat to Nigerian companies is ridiculous

The Chairman of the League Management Company, LMC, Shehu Dikko recently disclosed plans at the inaugural Lagos Business School workshops held at the Pan Atlantic University in Lagos to place financial sanctions on Nigerian companies who currently have sponsorship deals in place with European clubs.

Dikko stated that the LMC will in collaboration with the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, and the National Sports Commission, NSC, push the Federal Government to pass legislation via the National Assembly to mandate such Nigerian companies to pay a percentage of the net worth of the deal to the domestic league.

A couple of Nigerian firms have entered into sponsorship deals with European clubs, and have been accused of leaving the Nigerian clubs to suffer under development.

Telecommunications companies, Globacom and Etisalat, have huge investments in Manchester United and Barcelona of Spain respectively, Chi Limited, makers of Chivita range of products, are also in partnership with Manchester United, while Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, among others have endorsements from Nigerian companies.

It is no longer news that Nigeria’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, indicated interest in buying Arsenal FC, which will no doubt cost him more than sponsoring a Nigerian club to make them a huge powerhouse in African football.

Post Nigeria had before now, published a report to question a situation where Nigerian companies sponsor European clubs, ignoring the viability available on the local scene.

See: Nigerian Investors Wanted: A tale of Enyimba FC and Sterling Bank

Notwithstanding, it will be important to come to terms with reality especially how feasible and productive the proposed “sanction” would be and the effect on Nigerian clubs and the various league in general.

Dikko’s supposed “financial sanction” on Nigerian firms comes across as laughable because the LMC has no link/bond with any of the firms and therefore has no constitutional authority over them.

How then does the LMC see itself in possession of any right to mandate to these companies, on how they should go about their dealings especially in terms of who to sponsor?

There is no Government legislation in place that forces Nigerian firms to sponsor solely Nigerian clubs. The issue of placing financial sanctions seems dead on arrival because the LMC cannot dictate to the firms on how and where to invest.

It is important for the LMC to understand that if its planned actions are carried out, it will do more harm to the Nigerian clubs in the long run because they could relax and not exactly put in steady effort to secure deals for themselves.

It is high time clubs learnt to look beyond the arm of the state for sustenance.

The LMC should urge the NPFL clubs to step up and make their game and clubs attractive for investors to come in. No matter the sanction, no investor will invest in what will not bring weighty profits. Most brands are interested in putting themselves on bigger platforms and as painful as it may be to admit the NPFL lags behind several European leagues.

To snag sponsors, the clubs need to improve their brands and actually care more about investing in people who can actually generate funds from alternative sources for them.

The quality of games in the league has to be stepped up; the LMC should do more to market the NPFL brand to increase viewership.

Partnering with more local media outlets is also a very good way to go.