Police seals LMC office as Sports Minister claims Buhari backs disbandment
The Sports Minister Sunday Dare has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered for the disbandment of the League Management Company (LMC) after it became obvious that the NPFL is on its “death bed”.
“As at May 25, 2022. Mr. President approved the dissolution of the LMC and directed that the NFF should set up an Interim Management Company because of clear evidence that our league was in dire strait,” the Sports Minister said at a briefing.
“Between May and August, we did not issue a directive because we wanted the Premier League to complete its season without any disruption. But also, during that period, the Ministry made efforts to speak with those in charge. We never got any response.”
Dare continued: “As we sit here, our league is on its death bed. We know the nature of our domestic league. And I got a letter from the club owners. I met with them two weeks ago. I also met with the female football leaders.
“There’s a letter that came on September 1, I only got stating clearly that they have numerous problems with the LMC running the league. Unpaid emoluments, referees are not paid, staff are not paid.
“So, in May 2022, there was a presidential directive and as a ministry, we applied reasonable judgment and delayed that communication. But at a point when the league ended, and we saw the continuous decline of our football, we thought it was the right time to take the necessary action. And that was what we did.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Police Force sealed off the office of the league body.
Five truckloads of policemen took over the office at No 20, Osun Crescent, Off IBB Way, Maitama, Abuja.
Recall last week that the government disbanded the LMC on the grounds that it is illegal and not known to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Statutes.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar, had last Friday announced the withdrawal of the government’s recognition of the LMC.
He had explained that the decision was taken given the several unpleasant incidents regarding the management of the football league. The NFF have been directed to set up an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to run the league pending the time the clubs will run it themselves.
The FGN is set to open a probe of the LMC operations in the past 10 years.
In a response to the Ministry’s statement, LMC, also on Tuesday via its Twitter handle, insisted that the league body has legal backing in the Football laws and regulations which are constituted in both the NFF and FIFA, including the corporate laws.