By ROMANUS UGWU, Abuja
Embattled club representatives have defiled the order given to them by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) not to assemble in Abuja for any meeting against the Nduka Irabor-led League Management Company (LMC). Miffed by the continued rift between the two bodies, the football federation had warned the club representatives in a release at the weekend that: “Any person(s) purporting to act on behalf of club(s) in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) to, therefore, undermine the authority and legitimacy of the LMC, shall be visited with very severe sanctions.” Although the club representatives admitted seeing the press release from the Glass House, delegates defiled the warning and arrived in Abuja yesterday afternoon in line with the April 21 emergency meeting ultimatum it issued LMC two weeks ago, claiming that they want to find an amicable solution to the ranging row.
Speaking to Daily Sunsports from Gombe yesterday morning before flying into Abuja for the meeting, a key member of the club owners and the General Coordinator, Gombe United FC, Mallam Farouk Yarma, said they were not deliberately disobeying the federation, but there’s need for them to meet and set the records straight. “We know that the NFF and the league committee are working together for the benefit of Nigerian football. But the federation should understand that the club owners have their grievances against the league committee and I think the best thing would have been to listen to our grievances. If they have plans for the league, they ought to carry us along because we are all partners in progress,” Yarma said.
“We want the league to improve, but we cannot watch them operate in isolation. I want it to be on record that we are not fighting LMC or NFF. We have respect for the federation as the father of football in Nigeria, but they must look into our request for dialogue. “Yes, we have two representatives on the LMC, but the truth is that there was serious breakdown in communication. They were complaining bitterly that they were not aware of some of the decisions LMC took. We just hope they were not telling us something different.
We expect them to communicate us from time to time on their programmes. We want to know the reality of the situation and access if they are actually representing us well or not,” he said. While reacting to the recent directives from the federation against the club owners, Yarma said: “Inasmuch as nobody is undermining the authority of the football federation, what we expect from them would have been to invite both parties for a dialogue.” “I heard that club owners are threatening to pull out their teams, but there was no truth in such report.”