By Nkiruka Nnorom
NASD OTC Plc, the over-the-counter securities exchange that facilitates secondary market transaction in unlisted securities in Nigeria, has entered into agreement with the League Management Company, LMC, to repackage Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, clubs and make them commercially viable for listing on the NASD platform. Following the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, signed in Lagos by both parties, football clubs that meet the listing requirements and corporate governance structure of the NASD will have their shares listed on the platform and traded by interested investors.
The move will enable the clubs that succeed in listing their shares to leverage the power of the capital market and passion of sport-loving Nigerians to develop reliable funding channels. Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, the Managing Director/CEO, NASD OTC, Mr. Bola Ajomale, said the partnership became necessary to allow private and public investors participate in financing the most popular clubs in Nigeria.
He explained that listing on the NASD or attracting public funding would be a gradual process, as significant restructuring would be required to get the football clubs in shape before they could efficiently utilise investors’ funds. According to him, the NASD would challenge the clubs post-listing to ethically and in the eyes of the law act in the best interest of shareholders, adding that it will encourage management education, transparency, autonomy, investors education and appropriate regulations.
He said: “At a time when state and federal governments are seeking to reorder their expenditure pattern, it is appropriate for the LMC to look at allowing private and public investment play a bigger role in the funding of most of the popular sport in Nigeria and indeed, the rest of the world.” “All the clubs will be required to meet our stringent corporate governance and financial reporting standards before they can even apply. We do expect, however, that the leading or the better managed football clubs will quickly restructure and start working towards positioning to attract private and public equity investors.
“Investors can tap into a wider investment base in the economy, clubs will have more access to long term funding and securitization of their core assets. Clubs will also be able to raise new capital for building higher standard arenas, thereby attracting more interest both from supporters of the club and commercial interest from the use of the facility at other times,”
in his own remarks, chairman, LMC, Shehu Dikko, said: “The need to standardize the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, clubs ownership structure is in line with what is obtained in some more prosperous leagues such as those in Germany, Spain, and coming closer home, North Africa has since been appreciated by the LMC. Hence, we took steps to seek the actualisation.
“We have developed a scheme named, ‘adopt a club’, which would see the private sector businesses partner clubs as sponsors and benefit from shirt endorsement deals that will admit them to the windows of reaching the hearts and minds of over 100 million passionate followers of football in Nigeria. This is the strongest platform to develop sponsorship relationships, create wealth and widen the job space inherent in football.”
He explained that the NASD would facilitate the creation of special products including fan-based cooperatives to provide NPFL clubs the platform to trade on their shares openly and transparently in order to expand their capital base, which will in turn give greater impetus to the clubs to improve on the welfare of players, club managers and all club personnel.