By Onochie Anibeze
FIFA, the world football governing body, may not be regretting granting Nigeria the hosting rights for the 12th edition of the U-17 World Cup.
Apart from the money the body realisedÂ from media rights, the body has raked in huge money from a source that is strange to followers of the game. Nigerian officials were made to pay euros 3.7m (About N666m) for security and sanitation matters, we have gathered.
â€œFIFA feared about security in Nigeria and planned for their own security,â€ one Local Organising Committee source said yesterday, adding â€œthey will bring in security co-ordinators and the money is also to cover some medicals during the competition.â€
Observers, however,Â see this as dubious and one top official said â€œit was unnecessary payment.â€
FIFA pays some grants to countries hosting their events especially the developing countries. It is from such grants that South Africa Football Association is able to pay Joel Santana, their Brazilian coach $200,000 a month.
How come that in the case of Nigeria, the body is rather raking in money from matters that they cannot defend? We gathered that issues on security influenced the payment as FIFA, we were told, maintained that they would handle certain security matters themselves. They therefore needed the money to provide some security that, presumably will be rocket science to Nigeria. Nigeria has continued to remain a fertile ground for corruption and some staff of some international bodies are exploiting this. “Everything about that payment was not clear,” one of our sources continued. It was also to cater for some medicals and sanitation.
Top security and LOC sources confirmed this to us. â€œIt was an unnecessary payment”, a top government official said repeatedly. “I think a consultant was used because it was not through the LOC that the money was paid. But top FIFa men are aware of the money,â€ our source said.
â€œWe deserve some grants from FIFA but we are the ones paying for all sorts of things,â€ another source said.
This is a poser that both FIFA and the Nigerian officials may need to clear if it is not nipped in the bud especially as FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, was said not to be aware of the payment although some of his top staff knew about it.