This week’s landmark vote on the NFF Bill in Nigeria’s Senate has been described as the “most remarkable in the history” of the FA by its President, Amaju Pinnick.
In a statement issued by the Federation on Wednesday, Pinnick praised the Senate of the Federal Republic after the Red Chamber passed the much –awaited NFF Bill following a third reading on Tuesday.
He said, “Today will go down as one of the most remarkable in the history of the Nigeria Football Federation. I am very excited. With the passing of this Bill, we now await the very important assent of Mr. President. Once Mr. President gives assent, I assure you the NFF can achieve so much.
“I am not only thinking of what the present NFF administration can do; I am thinking of what subsequent NFF Boards after our tenure will be able to do, as the Bill is futuristic as well. For us, the passing of the NFF Bill means we can now make our programme even more robust and proceed apace with our vision of building a sustainable football culture for our dear country, through driving private sector involvement and investment,” Pinnick said on Tuesday evening.
The key highlights of the NFF Bill include legislations to ensure the entrenchment of the enabling environment for the development of football in Nigeria and to drive private sector participation and investment at all levels.
Fundamentally, the Bill has now domesticated the NFF Statutes, recognizing its sanctity, as approved by the NFF Congress and endorsed by FIFA as the supreme laws for governance of the functioning, organization, administration and operations of the Federation, as well as recognition of football by the Federal Government as a national asset entitled to special privileges and concessions to foster its growth at all levels.
The Bill further provides for special concessions and tax holidays by the Government to sponsors of football in Nigeria and has clear financial reporting provisions to further entrench transparency in the activities of the NFF, such as publishing of accounts annually.
These will set the NFF on a path of sustainable growth and ensure it operates within international best practices and as a business to strengthen the social and economic impact of football to the nation’s economy.
On Tuesday, on the floor of the Senate, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports and Youth Development, Senator Joseph Obinna Ogba, presented the report of his committee, which was followed by a clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill and a voice vote by the senators.
“All these court cases against football do not augur well for our country. It is important that we repeal the Act (2004) and enact the NFF Bill to sanitise football administration in this country,” Ogba said.
The former NFF Vice President went further: “It has become necessary to repeal the Extant Act. This is because it requires a lot of amendments to bring it into agreement with FIFA –required international best practices. It is to give it the required boost.
“The Bill has no financial implication because it is only seeking for a change in the name of the football body in order to achieve greater and better results in the future. It seeks to ensure that only those who are actually involved in competitive football matches are members of the Federation and not just organizations and establishments as contained in the Extant Act.
“Also, the Bill makes provision for the professional development of football at all levels in accordance with international best practices and to enable the credible participation of our teams in international competitions. The committee strongly believes that through this piece of legislation, the objectives as expressed in the long title of the Bill and explanatory memorandum will be achieved.”
In his contribution, Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki praised the committee for a great job.
“The message here is for us to bring Nigeria in line with best practices and best ways to administer football in the country. This has been an embarrassment over the years, but with the passage of this Bill, the grey areas will be taken care of.”
The country’s football ruling body was founded as Nigeria Football Association in 1945. However, at its Annual General Assembly in Makurdi, Benue State on 24th July 2008, Congress approved the change of name to Nigeria Football Federation.
The Act of Parliament 2004 as the legal instrument for administering the game in Nigeria replaced the Decree 101 of 1992.