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…Dissolves club’s board
From: Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
Not happy over the dismal outing of Rangers International Football Club of Enugu at the close of the national league season and the continuous rancour in the club, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, last night relieved the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Mr. Christian Chukwu, of his position.
The governor, who announced this at a dinner and postmortem session organised for the management and staff of the club at the Exco Chambers, Government House, took other sweeping decisions in a bid to revitalise and reposition the club for future challenges.
He also dissolved the board and management of Rangers Management Corporation, as well as terminated the appointments of all contract staff of the corporation.
The governor also said: “All staff earlier seconded to Rangers Management Corporation are hereby returned to their parent establishments.
“The appointment of the Club physician is hereby terminated with immediate effect and all corporation/club property in his custody should be returned forthwith.
“A panel of inquiry for a diagnostic investigation of the problems of Rangers FC will be set up shortly. The panel above will also articulate a roadmap for Rangers FC.”
He also disclosed that the Rangers Management Corporation Law would be amended to align with the planned roadmap, adding that it must specifically enthrone a robust governance structure with clear reporting lines in keeping with international best practices, as well as have a transparent accountability framework.
He said that the new board and management of Rangers Management Corporation would be constituted with clear and complementary roles for delivery of the strategic goals of the football club as would be enshrined in the proposed amendment in the Rangers Management Corporation Law.
“The new Rangers Board and Management must hunt and recruit good players directly without any intervening football club. Rangers players must henceforth be wholly owned by Rangers FC.
“The new board and management will identify and engage a competent technical crew.
“The timeline for attainment of the above objectives will be six weeks,” Ugwuanyi said.
Justifying his action, the governor said: “Before I came into office as the governor of Enugu State, Rangers International Club of Enugu was tottering on the brink of collapse. For 32 years, it had won no trophy and had lost all, but its iconic status as one of the nation’s most respected club sides.
“However, fully conscious of what the club represents, not only for Enugu State, but the entire Igbo race, I decided to take up the challenge of revitalizing the club and restoring it to its hitherto pre-eminent position in Nigerian and African soccer circles.
“To achieve this objective, the state government invested huge sum of money in the club which among other things, was used in paying all outstanding players’ and staff salaries and allowances, purchase of new players, purchase of vehicles, kits and other essential equipment and the provision of necessary logistics for the operations of the club. I even injected my personal funds and also encouraged friends and supporters of government to support the club.
“By the grace of God, these efforts yielded the desired results as the club lifted the 2015/2016 Nigerian Premier League Trophy- the first time it was doing so in 32 years and much to the relief and excitement of the club’s supporters and Igbo people everywhere in the world.
“But no sooner did this happen, than the club was plunged into crisis. Bitter infighting, indiscipline and players’ discontent crept in. Revelations were made of illegal sales of players and money therefrom, pocketed by private persons and also, of the fact that some of the players we believed were bought in the 2015/2016, were actually on loan. All these culminated in embarrassingly, poor performances of the club at the beginning of the 2016/2017 season.”
Mr Chukwu earlier in his speech told the governor that he had worked very hard to bring the club from the 20th position to the 13th position at the close of the season.
The former general manager who was said to have made announcements over the radio disbanding the management of the club, explained that he took the decision on the grounds that the contracts of some of the players had expired while there are others who had overstayed in the club, saying “we needed to disband everything and prepare for a new season.”