Abuja – Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Club Owners Association has appointed the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, as its Patron.
Isaac Danladi, Chairman of the association, said Saraki’s selection as its patron would help advance the course of football in the country.
“This visit is aimed at advancing the course of football development in Nigeria through total consolidation of the positives already achieved, while opening new pages in the system.
“Football development globally has assumed a phenomenal dimension and all these are centred on the socio-economic development and empowerment of youths and making them useful in all facets of the society.
“Your Excellency, this is in consonance with your vision which you are already advancing through your club Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS), FC Ilorin; one of the numerous institutions you established through which many players have risen.
“We must also not forget the Kwara Football Academy which is today one of the strongest reference points of your glorious reign as Governor of Kwara State, that platform has continued to serve as a veritable springboard for youths to step into the realities of life.
Danladi also said the choice of Saraki was in recognition of the role he played in resolving the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), leadership crisis which almost brought the nation’s football to a standstill.
He said the association would continue to complement the effort of the League Management Company (LMC), and also ensure fairness in the country’s elite league.
The club owners chairman noted that the collaboration between the LMC and the club owners led to the developmental agreement signed between the NPFL and the Spanish La Liga.
“This agreement will give the NPFL All Stars the opportunity to play some league clubs in Spain; the NPFL All Stars will on Aug. 10 to Aug. 17 play three top clubs in Spain.
“Majority of our members will be part of the trip to Spain to understudy the workings of the Spanish La Liga.
“Some of our members will also accompany FC Ifeanyi Ubah to London next week where the club will sign a landmark partnership agreement with West Ham United.
Danladi extolled the leadership qualities of the Senate President and noted that it had manifested in the leadership style of his club ABS which is piloted by the Chairman Seni Saraki and the Director of Football Aloy Chukwuemeka.
He pleaded with Saraki to ensure the Senate expedited action on bills that would strengthen football development and assured that the league and LMC would not disappoint him at ensuring that football evolved in Nigeria.
Saraki assured the group that as a former member of the association, he would promote any bill supporting private sector participation in the league and football in general.
“If this visit had happened three years ago, I would have been part of your delegation; this is your place and you are my people. I commend all of you for where you have taken the league to.
“There is no doubt about it that progress has been made because when we compare where we are and where we were, you will see that we are moving in the right direction.
“We must do more for the league for it to move forward because football plays a key role in our society’s social and economic development.
“I don’t see any reason why our football cannot be like its European counterparts.
“I reassure you that the senate is ready to give you all the backing and legislation required to take our football to that level’’, Saraki said.
The LMC Chairman Shehu Dikko and Secretary Salihu Abubakar were among those that visited the Saraki.
20 premier league club chairmen attended the occasion which took place in the Senate President’s conference room.