By Akeem Busari
The calls for government to stop interfering and sponsoring football in Nigeria has gained another strong voice from Japan based sportspreneur and president of high flying Iganmu FC, Abayomi Egbayelo.
Speaking on sportflames live radio interview monitored in Lagos from his base in Tokyo, Japan, Egbayelo stated football is a very big business globally. And Nigerians, particularly, the government should no longer see it as a hobby or as a social responsibility initiative.
He expressed disappointment in the beggarly attitudes of teams in the Nigerian football league. Adding that it is not good enough for teams to always run to government cap in hands to beg for subventions to survive.
” I disappointed that most Nigerian teams are insolvent and can hardly do anything for themselves without government financial supports.
” Imagine top teams like Kano Pillars and Enyimba, have not been able to take advantage of their large followership and fans base to become financially strong. Like in other climes, football is very big business and clubs enjoy huge revenue from merchandising, sales of souvenirs and several other memorabilia.
” I think the annual subventions Nigerian clubs get from their respective state governments have somewhat made the clubs management unable to think outside of the box in terms of generating revenues to take care of its responsibilities and activities,” Egbayelo noted.
” Government must take its hands away from football totally. Professional clubs are expected to find its own means to be financially stable. For example, clubs should be managed by professionals in all of its ramifications. A properly and professionally structured club would equally attract investors and sponsors,” he added.
He advised clubs to leave the apron strings of government and engage the services of technical, legal and financial experts for it to achieve its targets