Football players in the Nigerian Premier League have not been paid salaries for several months in spite of the League Management Company’s stance on timely remuneration, players told PREMIUM TIMES.
Chief among the debtors are Taraba, Oyo and Rivers State governments. The teams involved are FC Taraba, Shooting Stars in Oyo State, Dolphins FC and Sharks FC both in Rivers State.
Many states in Nigeria are unable to pay civil servants and other workers for months, as a result of dwindling government revenue, following the slide in oil price.
Several affected players who pleaded for anonymity told PREMIUM TIMES that their clubs owe them outstanding salaries.
The spokesperson of the FC Taraba club, Martins Odiete, while admitting the club owes its players, refuted the players’ position that they are being owed for nearly one year.
Mr. Odiete said the present state government cannot pay the club as it is already preparing to handover to the incoming administration.
“We are actually owing the players two months’ salary. If it is up to eight months as the players said the LMC will not register us. It is because of the transition and immediately a new government gets in, they will be sorted,” he said.
In another interview, the Media Officer to Sharks FC, Peter Abaje, said that the management is trying its best to sort the issue.
“We acknowledge the fact that we are owing the players and that shouldn’t be, it is so unfortunate. We find ourselves in a very tight corner and in fact management is trying to make players understand that they will definitely be paid in no distant time,” he explained.
On his part, the Media officer of Dolphins FC, China Acheru said admitted that the Rivers State Governor owes the club.
“The league appearance fees and harp deal we got cannot fund the clubs. We still depend on the government to offset bulk expenses like salaries. Hopefully, the club is paid soon. Mind you, it is not only players who are owed but all staff of the club,” he stated.
The Shooting Stars Media Officer, Jubril Arowolo, declined comment.
However an independent source inside the Ibadan camp of 3SC said the players and management staff have not been paid since January 2015.
When confronted about the plight of the players in the clubs, the Chief Operating Officer of the LMC, Salihu Abubakar, told PREMIUM TIMES that the League governing body will cross check and resolve the issues as soon as possible.
“On the issue of compliance and licensing conditions, it (LMC) has spelt out the terms on payment of players and coaches and the condition is that clubs must not owe their coaches, players and must not owe even their contractors. So we are going to do some cross checking on that. We will get people to sit down and take a critical look, we shall resolve it,” said Mr. Abubakar.
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