By Patrick Omorodion

*As NSC says LOC has received N9.6bn
The Local Organising Committee of the FIFA U-17 World Cup tagged Nigeria 2009 has been accused of plotting to embarrass the Federal Government over preparations for the event which is scheduled to begin in 13 days.
The accusation from former Gombe State Football Association Chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gombe is coming on the heels of cries from officials of the LOC of lack of funds to complete some of the facilities earmarked for a successful hosting of the event.

Some officials of the LOC said the committee lacks enough funds to carry out completion works on some training turfs, score board at some of the stadia among others as it is being starved of funds by the National Sports Commission, NSC.

In a reaction at the weekend however, Director-General of the NSC, Chief Patrick Ekeji debunked the claim, saying the Federal Government recently released the sum of N9.6 billion to the LOC for its work.

“It is not true that they are being starved of funds. In fact N9.6 billion was released to them last week and the NSC does not hold on to their money because we know that accusations like this will come,” he said.
Alhaji Gara-Gombe said that the blackmail by members of the LOC is in reaction to the government’s refusal to approve the LOC’s initial bogus budget of N37 billion which was considered outrageous.

Alhaji Gara-Gombe

“I think it is just a plot to sabotage government’s efforts because it refused to approve their initial budget. Why have they not told Nigerians how much they have or how much they have made from their marketing drive,” he queried.
The former football administrator said instead of using the money they have wisely, they are “spending money on other things, like importing 90,000 spare tyres for the vehicles to be used at the event. They have also (allegedly) earmarked N1.2 billion for computers.”

He disclosed that most of the Sub-seats are not empowered by the Main LOC hence most of the training pitches as well as scoreboards are not ready but “yet they keep deceiving people that everything is ready.”
Alhaji Gara-Gombe said the only aspect of the entire process that is ready is the Broadcasting and security area , adding that even the broadcast equipment on ground are obsolete but “for AIT which has installed a digital system for hosting the event.”

“Rather than the Nigeria Football Federation to commend AIT for this they are fighting them over an Award ceremony. The private sector is backing AIT on this issue,” he said, adding that the football body has not even prepared the team that will represent the country in the competition.


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