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Sports minister sets up c’tee to find solution to football crisis

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Abuja:  Sports Minister Yusuf Suleiman on Monday in Abuja called for pragmatic solutions that would help to curb the incessant recurrence of crisis in Nigeria’s football.

While inaugurating the Ministerial Committee of Experts on the Reform of Nigerian Football, Suleiman said that it was sad that efforts and time that could have been better utilised had been consumed by crisis in the sport.

“It was clear to me immediately on assumption of office that my first assignment should be to bring peace to the football family because a lot of efforts, time and resources have been consumed by the crisis,’’ he said.

The committee, headed by a former chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), retired Brig.-Gen. Dominic Oneya, has nine members and four resource persons.

The minister, who is also the Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), said there was a need for peace in the football family in order to promote sustainable development.

“There is the need for peace in order to promote football, especially as we have all realised that those good resources and time could have been better utilised and we all know there is need for reforms too,’’ he said

Suleimanpointed out that sports administration in Nigeria had now reached a crucial point where it had to face the necessary challenges in a better way.

“We are at a crucial moment in our sports administration when we must face our challenges adequately, knowing that we have the capacity to deal with such challenges in view of our talents and resources.

“This is why this committee must complete this assignment very expeditiously and come out with pragmatic and achievable solutions that will help us end this crisis once and for all,’’ he said.

The minister who acknowledged the efforts towards achieving peace by his immediate past two predecessors, however, lauded all football stakeholders for their co-operation with him in coming to a roundtable.

“My predecessors did well by providing a platform I am now building upon and the NSC is only a vessel in actualising the dreams of my predecessors. But I must say we are indeed grateful to the stakeholders for their maturity.

Responding on behalf of the committee, Oneya assured that the members would do a good job in order not to disappoint the nation.

“We know there is the need for a peaceful atmosphere to prevail for our football to grow, and we will, in this line, not disappoint. We will deliver as expected and hope that there will not be any regrets thereafter,’’ he said.

Oneyacommended the minister for his efforts in getting the warring parties to a roundtable, saying “we are grateful to the minister for hitting the ground running, just days after coming into office.

“This gives us an assurance that you are a Sports Minister we can count on for a sustainable development of sports in Nigeria,’’ he said.

The committee is expected to work between now and Oct. 31, with six terms of reference, which includes the revision of the NFA statutes.

The committee is also to look into the roots of the crisis and propose a solution as well as advise on concrete steps to adopt for the association to achieve financial independence.

It is equally to recommend NFA electoral laws that will help to eliminate rancour, propose a roadmap for the reconciliation of all warring parties and recommend other matters that may help in further developing the game. (NAN)

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