• NFF budgets N6.38 billion for World Cup, others
• To begin talks with team, names foreign coach for Falcons
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)’s 2018 budget of N6.38 billion was approved yesterday at its Annual General Assembly (AGA) in Jos, Plateau State capital. The budget is with a deficit of N3.32 billion.
In Lagos, a former Special Assistant on Media to ex-Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi, Olukayode Thomas has described as ‘big scam’ passionate plea by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung to the National Assembly to speedily appropriate funds for Super Eagles’ preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Thomas, who is the immediate past spokesman of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), said such call by Dalung must be ignored because it is a scam, as preparation and participation of qualified countries in the World Cup are funded by FIFA.
According to the assembly’s communiqué signed by Frank Ilaboya (Chairman) and Ademola Olajire (Secretary), the Congress approved NFF’s Financial Statement for the year 2016 and the 2018 Budget as proposed.
“The Federation’s total budget for year 2018 activities is the sum of N6.38 billion, while the guaranteed revenues from sponsors and government subvention is the sum of N3.062 billion. This has left a shortfall of the sum of N3. 32 billion, which the Federation has to work to augment through sponsorships and special interventions,” it stated.
At another meeting held at the Plateau State Governor’s Lodge in Jos, the NFF agreed to “ensure that negotiations with the players with regards to World Cup bonuses are firmly concluded and agreement signed before the end of this year, for the sake of stable preparations and credible participation at the World Cup finals without any distractions.”
The board also resolved that adequate and intensive preparation of the Super Eagles for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, including the arrangement of quality friendly matches for the team, is non –negotiable, saying, “to this end, a comprehensive plan of action would be released after the World Cup draw in Moscow on December 1, 2017, which would encompass training camps, friendly matches, marketing and funds drive to ensure a great outing at the World Cup finals.”
It disclosed that henceforth only the Super Eagles and the Super Falcons will be entitled to bonus payments per match, adding, “players, coaches and backroom staff of other teams will earn daily allowances, approved bonuses at the end of successful qualifying campaigns and approved allowances (including daily allowances) at championships.”
The federation at the meeting approved the appointment of Mr. Randy Waldrum as the technical adviser of the senior women national team, Super Falcons and directed the technical committee to conclude negotiations with the 61-year-old American, who currently coaches Houston Dash as well as the women’s team of Trinidad and Tobago.
In his protest letter to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Thomas said: “We have witnessed change in the last 24 months under Solomon Dalung as Sports Minister, but it has been more of negatives than positives.
“The burning issue now is the letter Dalung sent to you, through the Chairmen of the Appropriation and Sports Committees, requesting for the National Assembly to appropriate money for the Super Eagles preparation and participation in the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup. Don’t fall for it sir, it is a scam.” he said.
“The plot is not just a rip-off of the Federal Government; Dalung is also planning a stakeholder’s dinner which will include the National Assembly, State Governors and other concerned sports stakeholders to raise money for the same purpose.
“Nigeria and the other 31 teams that will vie for glory at the Russia 2018 World Cup will get $2 million each for preparations. After playing the first three games in the group stage, each team will get $10 million each. If our boys advance to round 16, they will pocket $12 million.
Peradventure fortune smiles on our boys and they make it to the quarterfinal, the reward is an $18 million.
“If our team manages to get to the semifinal and they place fourth, $25 million is in the kitty; a third place guarantees them $30 million, second $40 million, and if they are lucky to win the cup, it is comes with a $50 million jackpot.
“Please disregard Dalung’s letter, it is a scam. A cheap one for that matter. This scam is as old as 1994 when Nigeria first qualified for the FIFA World Cup at the USA,” Thomas stated.
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