The lower Chamber of Nigerian Federal legislature, the House of Representatives on Wednesday in Abuja held a final public hearing on the bill proposing the enacting of a new Act for the Nigeria Football Federation, expected to bring it in conformity with standards set by the international governing body, FIFA.
It has been a long time coming in fairness, since the Football Association in its Congress of 2008 approved the change of the then NFA to NFF apparently without a proper legal framework supporting the change.
The Upper Chamber, had earlier conducted its own hearing and have indeed passed it before the lower Chamber’s turn to pick up the baton and a subsequent passage will most definitely lead to an assent by the Executive arm of government.
Nigeria, a nation of over 150 million in population is blessed with millions of football crazy citizens but many have asked questions and expressed reservations about the proposed act, a way of still smarting from the diverse issues which the football governing body had faced in terms of complying with statutes of FIFA at every point of its activity.
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Aclsports’ Chief Football Writer FISAYO DAIRO sought to provide answers and elucidation to some of these questions and confusion and here are the five basic points in explicit form.
1. Essence of the Act
As enumerated in the opening paragraphs, it is of utmost essence to enact a law which will put Nigerian football at par with global best practices.
“It is basically to create a framework to domesticate the NFF statutes as approved by FIFA as the supreme document guiding the management and operations of the NFF,” Shehu Dikko, NFF’s 2nd Vice President said in a forum of journalists on Wednesday.
“The Act will also set the framework to provide the required protection and enabling environment for football to thrive and to drive sector participation into football.”
2. Amenable Act
Football as a dynamic sport has its unique way of evolving and organizing bodies adapt to the changes from time to time by altering components of the laws backed by a legal standing.
The proposed NFF Act will also give room for the Federation to adapt to such instances.
“The Bill duly recognizes the NFF statutes as the supreme legal document guiding the management, administration and operations of the NFF as may be amended from time to time in line with the process stipulated in the statutes,” Dikko explained further.
“So the Bill envisaged and approved that the statutes could be amended from time to time and must be done in Line to the process allowed in the statutes which basically means by the NFF congress members.”
3. International governing body’s approval
As stated earlier, one of the main reasons which drove home the necessity to enact this Law is the periodic FIFA warnings on possible interference by governments in the affairs of its affiliate members especially in Africa.
To that effect, the average Nigerian is expectedly curious on the disposition of the proposed Act towards FIFA’s clichéd sledgehammer.
“FIFA and CAF have an idea what the Senate did and are comfortable with the principles of the Act,” assured Dikko.
“They believe that if the final version is passed with this principles, the Bill might serve as benchmarks for other jurisdictions to copy and domesticate.
“The bill has basically strengthened the NFF statutes as drafted by the members and approved by FIFA and removed any shred of interference that FIFA frowns at but rather strengthen the independence of the NFF,” he posited.
4. Financial transparency
Critics of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) have in recent times berated the lack of proper documentation or accountability in the Federation’s financial dealings.
It has often been said that the loose structure of the Football body encourages misappropriation of the Federation’s funds but the new Act, if passed into Law will give a measure of transparency.
“There is an aspect of financial reporting and auditing geared towards transparency where it is required that NFF must publish its account in at least two national dailies annually.
“The Federation must keep its financial records open and available for inspection by congress members upon request and approval of the executive committee,” he added.
5. In summary…..
The proposed NFF Act made available to www.aclsports.com can be summarized into five major components which encompasses a whole new profitable and dynamic structure.
They are as follows:
– It recognizes the NFF as the body to manage and regulate football activities in Nigeria in line to its statutes as approved by FIFA.
– It recognizes the NFF statutes as drafted by its members and approved by FIFA as the supreme Laws for the governance of the functioning of the organization, administration and operations of the NFF.
– It recognizes that the statutes of the NFF may be amended from time to time in accordance with the procedures and process stipulated in the statutes.
– It recognizes football as a national asset and thus entitled to special privileges, concession and from time to time to receive grants, subventions and/or appropriation from the government in furtherance to its objectives and functions and to facilitate the overall development of football in Nigeria.
– It will provide the framework of the minimum provisions the statutes shall contain to ensure good governance, management, and operations of the NFF and in line to the minimum threshold provided by FIFA to be contained in all the Federations’ statutes and other provisions to support football development.
These are the focal points of the Act with the itemized point emphasizing that the NFF will not be hindered from receiving grants or subvention from the government despite their autonomy.