By CHIMAOBI UCHENDU
Telecommunications giant, Globacom, yesterday, presented a cheque of N1,896,730,000 (one billion, eight hundred and ninety six million, seven hundred and thirty thousand naira) to the League Management Company (LMC). The presentation, which was done at the Mike Adenuga Towers in Lagos, was for the sponsorship of the Nigeria Premier League for the next three years.
In the breakdown of the package, the league would receive the sum of N550million in the first year, with a 10 per cent increment in the second and third years respectively.
Presenting the cheque to the LMC on behalf of Globacom, the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Mohammed Jameel, said that his company’s passion for sports, especially football, was the driving force behind the huge financial investment Globacom made in the Nigerian League. He also pledged that the company would continue to encourage the development of the league since it is the platform upon which future stars are produced for all the national teams.
“Football is dear to us at Globacom, hence we attach importance to its development at all levels,” Jameel stated.
“It’s our pleasure to invest this huge sum in the local league, which we regard as the bedrock for football development in the country. As responsible telecom operators in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, we invest money into football and leave the rest to the football administrators to do other necessary things.”
In his response, Chairman of LMC, Hon. Nduka Irabor, thanked Globacom for being a company that has the interest of the youths at heart. He promised that the funds would be put into judicious use to uplift the league in Nigeria.
“Today marks a new beginning for the Nigerian League. I’m overjoyed that our efforts at bringing out our league from the clutches of neglect has yielded good fruits,” Hon. Irabor said.
“We shall account for every kobo given to us by Glo and other sponsors who have identified with us. Some part of this sponsorship money will go to the clubs, as we have made arrangements to employ competent hands to run the league.
“Nevertheless, I want to say that Nigerian League is worth more than this amount, but for the past practices which scared away potential investors. However, this is our starting point and in the nearest future, we shall get to the zenith of our league potentials. But we can only achieve this through transparency and honesty as a body.
“I want to implore Nigerians to start believing in our league henceforth by coming to watch matches at our various stadia and thereby making the occasions memorable.”
Irabor also revealed that from this season, league champions would be entitled to some cash rewards, even as outstanding players in the league would not be left to go home empty-handed.
According to him, the highest goal scorer, best goalkeeper, best player and best-behaved team in the league, would be rewarded adequately.
He also stated that the practice, which in the past, hindered other companies that provided some level of services from leveraging from the league, had been abolished. He, therefore, urged clubs in the league to cash in on this development and improve their revenue base.