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Author Name: Suleiman Nasiru
Number of articles: 76
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N300,000 salaries for local league players: What Bolaji should know
Author: Suleiman Nasiru | July 22, 2013

It was widely reported recently that the Minister of Sports, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi said that the Nigerian Professional Football League players will soon be earning not less than 300,000 thousand naira monthly. He made this revelation at a Ministerial Platform held at the National Press Center, Radio House, Abuja where he vowed to ensure the Nigerian football elite league is fashioned to what is obtainable in South Africa where players and coaches receive fat salaries and bonuses which have made their league very attractive. Malam Bolaji Abdullahi said he has charged the Nduka Irabor-led League Management Committee to work on the modalities that could totally transform the league and make it very attractive so that some of our players would no longer go to obscure countries to play football. This news is received by many with joy and happiness, particularly major stakeholders in the game, the players, which for years now have been slaving in the local scene because of poor remuneration can now smile if the word of the minister can be trusted . For years the Nigerian football is lagging behind, this is why most Nigerian players travel to some obscure countries to play football, hope of many prospective soccer stars have been dashed and negatively affected while a number of promising talents in the game have been wasted due to poor handling of the league in the country. But the ministerテ「冱 revelation came with a ray of hope to many soccer loving Nigerians, that is if his word is anything to go by, one can confidently say that the problem of Nigerian football is about to be partly solved. But the Minister, aside charging the League Management Committee to work out modalities for transforming the league, did not tell us how he intend to achieve this goal of increasing the earnings for the local players. It is a good thing that the players plying their trade in the home front will earn substantial amount of money that will encourage them to stay and play at home, but how to achieve this feat is also a thing of concern, knowing fully well that most of these clubs in the local league are owned by state governments and most of them are not on any form of sponsorship deal with private companies that will complement the paltry funding from the state government, but solely depend on the state government for funding. And this funding has been irregular. This is the reason some clubs owed their playersテ「 salaries and allowances for several months. The local league is plagued with series of problems, which if I chose to discuss here will cover several pages of this magazine, but my focus is on how the minister intend to achieve this goal. Though he has not said so, but maybe he has secured or about to secure a sponsorship deal for the league that will make the players to earn this amount of money. Or probably they have certain amount of money kept somewhere to finance this deal he has projected. But if the minister thought they will enforce the clubs to adopt this pay packages for players in the local league through legislation without any concrete arrangements as regard how to source the fund to finance this deal, then this 300,000 naira monthly salary for local leagues players will not be possible. In Europe and other developed league where players earn substantial amount of money, the managers and handlers of those leagues engaged in so many activities to ensure they achieve their goals. For instance they involve in vigorous Sport marketing; Sport marketing is a subdivision of marketing which focuses both on the promotion of sports events and teams as well as the promotion of other products and services through sporting events and sports teams. It is a service in which the element promoted can be a physical product or a brand name. The goal is to provide the client with strategies to promote the sport or to promote something other than sport through sports. Sport marketing is also designed to meet the needs and wants of the consumer through exchange processes. One element that sport marketing takes advantage of is that athletes tend to be brand loyal and fans tend to be loyal to their favorite athletes and teams. This can be recognized through the contracts players and athletes sign with sports companies in which they get paid to wear or use their products in each game or sporting event. By doing so, the players and athletes and also their fans develop a loyalty to the products for a longer time. For example marketing through sports is the strategy used by Gillette Match to promote its personal hygiene products through representative figures of each sport on television during broadcast sports events. Gillette uses for this issue characters from football soccer such as Thierry Henry, from tennis Roger Federer and from golf Tiger Woods. In the commercial these celebrities appear using the products of the company showing the results in order to demonstrate that if successful people use the products you should use them to. It is a clear example of this concept, because the company using this marketing strategy is not related to sports at all, but through important personalities of each sport it has the possibility to get to its target audience. And this strategy is beneficial to the company and also provides funds for sports development, which means more money to the sportsmen and women and this we donテ「冲 have here in Nigeria. Talk of sponsorship, you and I know we donテ「冲 have good sponsorship deal for the league here or for other sports. IEG Sponsorship Report, which has conducted primary research on sponsorship spending annually since 1984, projects $18.2 billion will be spent by companies in North America on rights fees in 2011, up 5.2 percent over 2010. Sponsorship expenditures by North American companies grew 3.9 percent in 2010 to $17.2 billion. Though the sales cycle for selling sponsors is often a lengthy process that consists of researching prospects, creating tailored proposals based on a company's business objectives, finding the right contacts at a company, getting buy-in from multiple constituencies and finally negotiating benefits/price. Some sales can take up to a year and sellers report spending anywhere between 1テ「5 hours researching each company that is viewed as a potential prospect for sponsorship. The question now is, are we doing this to get the best sponsorship programmes for the league and other sport in Nigeria, before we started talking of increase earning of our players plying their trade here at home? We ought to have done our primary assignment first then we can come out and say whatever we want to say. For instance the Premier League has been sponsored since 1993. The sponsor has been able to determine the league's sponsorship name. There have been three sponsors since the league's formation. 1993テ「2001: Carling (FA Carling Premiership); 2001テ「2004: Barclaycard (Barclaycard Premiership); 2004テ「菟resent: Barclays (Barclays Premiership (until 2007) then Barclays Premier League) As well as sponsorship for the league itself, the Premier League has a number of official partners and suppliers. The official ball supplier for the league is Nike who has had the contract since the 2000テ「01 seasons when they took over from Mitre. Also in the premiership as a result of the increasingly lucrative television deals, player wages rose sharply following the formation of the Premier League. In the first Premier League season the average player wage was テつ」75,000 per year but subsequently rose by an average 20 per cent per year for a decade, テつ」409,000 in 2000テ「01, テつ」676,000 in 2003テ「04 season rising to テつ」1.1 million for the 2008テ「09 season. The record transfer in the sport's history had a Premier League club on the selling end, with Manchester United accepting an テつ」80 million bid from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009. But in Nigeria since 1972 when the league was founded with six teams until On Saturday 12 May 1990 at the Onikan Stadium Lagos, when the league was rechristened the "Professional League" with a goal to modernize the game and make clubs self-sufficient. Decrees 10 and 11 which codified the introduction of professional football in Nigeria stipulated that professional clubs should be run as limited liability companies each governed by a regularly constituted board of directors and required to hold annual general meetings, present independently audited accounts, cultivate youth/feeder teams and own their own stadium within five years of registration with the Pro League Department. To assist Pro League clubs in the timely achievement of these stated goals, all 56 professional club-sides that constituted the inaugural Pro League First and Second Division were granted a five-year tax moratorium on all income starting from 1990. If it took us 18 years to have a "professional league" from 1972 when we started football league in Nigeria to 1990 when we rechristened it professional league. From 1990 till date that is 23 years, the professional league has not lived up to its name professional. Nothing professional about the league we have now. Which of the clubs in Nigeria is run as a limited liability company? Aside Abubakar Bukola Saraki Football Club in the elite league in Nigeria, all other clubs are owned, run and managed by states government financed with taxpayer's money. Is it the league where match fixing becomes the order of the day that Bolaji is talking about, the recent disgraceful result of 69-0 and 79-0 recorded by the Police Machine of Bauchi and Plateau United Feeders teams is highly shameful. We must correct such messed before we start talking of increased earnings for the players, because with this monumental corruption, nobody will sponsor such leagues. With the above fact about how we have being running our football league in Nigeria. Bolaji Abdullahi, should know that, it will take more than promises and media hype to have the kind of league he dreamt of, the leagues in Europe, America, Asia and other African countries that are booming took more than mere promises and media hype to achieve the height they get to today. Our local league players can get more than 300,000 naira monthly if the right thing is done, which I believe the minister knows and should pursue it vigorously.

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