By Kayode Ogundare:
The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick has lifted the lid on the details of the agreement signed between the players and officials of the Federation over the sharing formula for the expected FIFA bonus for qualifying for the 2018 World Cup and assured that the players’ $2.8M (about N1.8bn) share of the money is ready for disbursement, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Speaking on Lagos-based Channels TV on Monday morning, Pinnick also disclosed that the players where part of the decision-making process which arrived at that figure.
He said: “Before the game against Argentina in Krasnodar last November, we called the coach and some senior players like the captain Obi Mikel and Ahmed Musa into a room. We told them that the total money we’re expecting from FIFA for qualifying for the World Cup is $8 million and asked their opinion about how it should be shared. We gave them permission to go and consult with their colleagues and come back with their position if not that day then the following day. We did this because we didn’t want a situation where there’s rancour and acrimony over bonuses like we’d seen in the past. They left and came back later to demand for 30% of the money which translated to roughly $2.8m. We drafted an agreement, sent it to our lawyers to look at and each party signed. As I speak, we are at the point of raising the $2.8m which we’ll hand over to them as soon as they come to camp.”
Pinnick, who’s also a CAF executive committee member, also assured that his Federation has religiously kept faith with the agreement signed with the players.
“We have kept A-Z of what we pledged to do for the players. We promised them luxury charter aircrafts from one point to another during our friendly games which we did in the last FIFA window. We are trying to build trust with the players and keeping up our own part of the deal. I remember when we got to London, (Ogenyi) Onazi walked up to me and said ‘President, you people are setting us up with all these first class treatment. You want us to take the blame from Nigerians because you will claim you’d done your own part.’ We laughed over it but I told him that they should also keep their side of the bargain to make Nigerians happy,” he responded to another question on the programme.
On his vision for Nigerian football, the Delta State-born administrator who’s seeking re-election in the NFF elections slated for September, revealed that he wants a self-financing football house that contributes to the GDP of the country rather than depend on government for funding.
“My vision has always been to make football an integral part of the Nigerian economy as is done in other parts of the world. In 1992, when the EPL started they requested for £200m from the government to help clubs develop their infrastructures. Today, the British government rakes in between £2.5m to £3m in taxes and other ancillary activities from the Premier League annually. That’s what we want to do. Of course we want to qualify Nigeria for every competition but we are also looking long term. We have built a Football House in each of the six geo-political regions of the country. They are ready for commissioning by next month. This year, we plan to do 12 states and by next year we would have gone round every state,” he said.