By Sedara Philip
Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, Chairman of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) has praised the 20 Clubs that participated in the recently concluded regular season that was abridged to achieve alignment with International football calendar.
Elegbeleye spoke on the sidelines of the contract signing ceremony with Propel Sports Africa (PSA) for live streaming of the NPFL in the 2023/24 season and noted that “without the cooperation of the clubs’ leadership, the task would have been extremely tedious”.
He recalled some of the challenges the nascent IMC board encountered and how they were navigated with the support of diverse stakeholders and the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development to steady the course of the season.
“Today, I would like to commend the clubs for their understanding and subsequent cooperation with us in implementing our strategies to meet the terms of reference issued to the IMC”
“It obviously was a very onerous task as we inherited huge challenges but I am happy that we found a way to resolve some of those challenges”, Elegbeleye said during his brief remarks on the podium.
He also expressed appreciation to the Minister of Sports, Chief Sunday Dare and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Board for extensive support for some crucial decisions and the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) members for their performance in match officiating.
“When we came on board and after securing the partnership with GTI for financial guarantee, we asked them to keep the money in trust instead of handing over to us. But we made some demands.
“We requested that they increase the indemnity payment to Match Officials by 50% and they agreed. We also asked that their travel cost be reviewed upwards by 40% and GTI Group Managing Director, Abubakar Lawal said no problem.
“We therefore asked the Referees to give us quality officiating which I can say today they reciprocated very much above average. It is part of our success story”, the IMC Chairman concluded.
He also recalled that towards the start of the season, the IMC facilitated the release of ₦200m to the 20 clubs as start-up grant to enable them ease some funding gaps.
Six Clubs, the top three from each group, qualified for the Super 6 Play-off which will hold in Lagos from June 3-11 at the Mobolaji Arena to determine the overall champions.