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FIFA still milking Nigeria

By Amenawon Osademen
With FIFA having resolved the controversy of who among Nigerian broadcasters should be the Host Broadcaster of FIFA U_17 World Cup 2009 by awarding it to the Daar Communications Plc,  time may have come  to look at other issues.

There are clear evidences that FIFA is  maintaining the sanctity of the arrangement it has with Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, and OSMI which dates back to November 12, 2008.

The two organizations own the Broadcast Rights in Nigeria. That  FIFA,  respects its agreement with these two organisations can only be a happy ending to the hosting rights.

However, some other  issues that follow this honour are obviously not one at all. The question many stakeholders have asked is, are there financial accruals to a country hosting a major event as the U_17 Youth Tournament? If the answer is to the affirmative,  there are documented evidences that are pointing quite to contrary direction.

The shocking irony from the document is that instead of earning money Nigeria will have to pay out mouthfuls because of deteriorating health facilities, fragile security situation and broadcast activities that will take the tournament to the rest of the world.

Although FIFA acknowledged receipt of EUR 3, 560, 952. 06 on August 5, 2009, which amounts to $5, 163,380, there is still a shocking difference of about $10, 737, 462. The amount is to cater for the television production and broadcasting of the event, as the service provider, Host Broadcast Services (HBS) will work on the entire programme, bringing crews that can work with the host broadcaster. The above payment was due on September 1.

However, there is yet another cost of about $11, 054, 121, which covers Medical and Security Requirements. While the country’s Health facilities are largely down, FIFA will have to avail itself of some special services using Nigeria’s money while also taking care of its own security. To ensure that the event holds in the country, the Nigerian government has had to provide some special guarantees which translate into a lot of money.

Some of these services include special air ambulance, helicopters, and security for teams and VIPs among others. Without wanting to open itself to any risk, FIFA has agreed to take on some of the responsibilities which the Nigerian government should have been providing.

Details of cost built into the latter package are as sordid as they are shameful. Chunk of the money is going into insurance while the several inspections visits made to Nigeria since the country would not prepare its facilities on time amidst bickering over the host broadcast rights, cost $600, 000.

Sports journalists who are always on top of stories have largely condemned the development saying that the country should be raking in money instead of spending so much money because of sloppiness in high places. Some taunted that while the various guarantees the country is giving will not translate into complete loss of confidence on our system, they obviously manifest the traits of a failing state.

A number of them have been vociferous at pointing out that for an event which holds in October, the LOC headed by Mainasara Illo is yet to tell Nigerians how much they are likely going to rake in from hosting the tournament or if again the story will follow the series of failures and result in a lot of deficits but unfortunately swelling in private pockets. These could perhaps account for why Nigeria  hosted a number of international events but never declared any profit .


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