Nigeria Football Federation commences implementation of Clubs Licensing System

Clubs Licensing System will become operational in Nigeria from November 30.

Pursuant to FIFA and CAF directives and in particular CAF circular dated November 26, 2013, on Clubs’ Licensing System, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has adopted the NFF Clubs Licensing Regulations as from January 31.

By these directives from FIFA and CAF, it is mandatory for all Federations to adopt and implement the Clubs Licensing System for all clubs participating in national and confederation clubs competitions by the set deadlines.

The NFF Clubs Licensing Regulations is the basic document for Club Licensing System in Nigeria, through which different members of the football family aim to promote common principles in the world of football such as sporting value, transparency in their finances, ownership and control of clubs, players and coaches welfare, and the credibility and integrity of club competitions.

The mandatory Clubs Licensing System has the following overall objectives:

Safe-guarding the credibility of club competitions

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Improving the level of professionalism within the football family

Promoting sporting values in accordance with principles of fair play as well as safe and secure match environment

Promoting transparency in finances of clubs

Promoting transparency in the ownership of clubs

Promoting transparency in the control of Clubs

The criteria which the Clubs shall comply with in order to obtain a license under the NFF Clubs Licensing Regulations are in six categories which include: 

Sporting Criteria

Infrastructure Criteria

Personnel and Administrative Criteria

Legal Criteria

Financial Criteria and

Business, Commercial and Promotion Criteria

In line with FIFA regulations on Club Licensing, the criteria outlined above are graded into three. The different grades are as follows:

“A” Criteria – MUST: If a Club does not fulfill any “A” criteria, then it cannot be granted a license to enter Confederations/National Club Competitions.

“B” Criteria – MUST: If a Club does not fulfill any “B” Criteria, then it is sanctioned as specified in the NFF Club Licensing Regulations but may still receive a license to enter Confederation/National Club Competitions.

“C” Criteria – BEST PRACTICE: “C” Criteria are best practices recommendations. Non-fulfilment of any “C” Criteria does not lead to any sanction or to the refusal of license.

The NFF Club Licensing Regulations, which shall be operated on an annual basis, shall apply to:

All Premier League Clubs

All Pro-League Clubs

Clubs that qualify for CAF Competitions notwithstanding the class or division they play in, in the National Leagues.

In accordance to CAF Circular, the operation of Clubs Licensing Regulations for all its members shall commence by November 2014 and countries that do not comply with the regulations may not be allowed to participate in National and CAF Club Competitions as from 2015 Season.

The CAF directive requires implementation of the Licensing Regulations in two phases from January 2014 to November 30th 2014 as follows:

Phase 1: Comprising four steps to be completed by January 31st 2014 as follows:

Insertion of the Statutory Clauses adopting Club Licensing System in the Federation Statutes Establishment of National Club Licensing Regulations Creation of decision-making bodies i.e. The First Instance Body (FIB) and the Appeal Body (AB) as stipulated in CAF Regulations.

Organisation of Seminar for Premier League Clubs

Phase 2: Expiring November, 2014 by which time the Federation must have completed all process required to ensure that the Club Licensing Regulations become operational. This includes organisation of national seminars and rendering the decision-making bodies operational and undergo the necessary work in order to permit the issuance of licenses to clubs based on the 6 regulatory criteria:

The NFF has so far concluded the First Phase of the Licensing Regulations as required by CAF and has thus approved the statutory decision-making bodies as part thereof.

The NFF has, in line with FIFA and CAF Club Licensing Regulations, delegated the operation of the Club Licensing System under the NFF Club Licensing Regulations to the LMC, which shall constitute the First Instance Body (FIB) whilst the NFF shall constitute the Appeals Body (AB).

To this end, the following are the Members of the First Instance Body (FIB):

Shehu Dikko – Chairman

Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi – Member

Salihu Abubakar – Member

Barrister Ifeanyi Dike – Member

Barrister Sampson Ebomhe – Member/Secretary

The Members of the Appeals Body (AB) are:

Barrister A. U. Mustapha – Chairman

Dr. Mohammed Sanusi – Member

Dr. Abu Ali – Member

Mr. Cyril Dum Wite – Member

Barr. Denen Ikya – Member

Mr. Kunle Elebute – Member

Barr. Okey Obi – Member/Secretary

The First Instance Body (FIB) shall decide on whether a License shall be granted an applicant on the basis of documents provided and in accordance with the provisions of the NFF Club Licensing Regulations at the submission deadline set by the LMC.

The Appeals Body (AB) shall decide on appeals submitted in writing and make a final and binding decision on whether a license shall be granted.

The public presentation of NFF Club Licensing Regulations 2014/2015 and the formal inauguration of the two Decision-Making Bodies will be done in due course.

The Clubs Licensing System shall formally become operational in Nigeria as from November 30, 2014 and only clubs that meet the requirements will participate in any National/Confederation Club Competitions as from 2014/2015 season.

All Clubs are therefore enjoined to work and cooperate with the LMC to ensure the smooth implementation process of the NFF Clubs Licensing Regulations from February 2014 to November 30, 2014.

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