Lagos – The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, says the Federal Government will no longer fund the excesses of the sports federation in its bid to reposition sports.
Dalung made the assertion at the 25th anniversary and the 7th convocation of the Nigeria Institute of Sports, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
He said that it was imperative for the ministry to channel the funding of the various sports in the country directly to those that were concerned which included the athletes and the coaches.
“In order to refocus sports in Nigeria, government will no more invest in the excesses of the federations. Our investment will now be going directly to the welfare of the athletes and coaches.
“In sports development, the welfare of the athletes is sacrosanct, so the administration will now focus more on the welfare of the players, athletes and coaches.
“What I am saying is part of the democratisation of the sports federations which includes the federations drafting their constitution, endorsed by their congresses and also registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“The aspect of the rule that says once the federations are registered, government can no longer fund them is not true. There is nowhere in the world that sports is not funded by the government.
“In developed countries like the U.K., U.S., they still give grants to develop sports; what we are saying is that, for them to enjoy the support of the private sector, they need to be incorporated,” he said.
Dalung said that if the sports federations were registered, it would give the private sector confidence to invest in sports which would complement the efforts of government.
“Once a federation is incorporated, it will enjoy the private sector support because their books will be open to the public for scrutiny and this will give confidence to the investors.
“Government will continue to provide grants to the sports federation to run their programmes because if government will not provide funds, who runs the grassroots development aspect of sports.
“If government refuses funding, that means that we would have to reduce sports to the elites, which should not happen, we will continue to be partners in progress.
“Another contentious issue is about the position of the Secretary General of the federation which should be appointed by the government. The federation cannot withhold the position from the government,” he said.
Dalung said that the current state of the national stadium was appalling, adding that the federal government would do all within its power to resuscitate the abandoned sports infrastructure in the country.
“I want to emphasise that we must keep sustaining some of the laudable sports tradition we inherited. As I look at the National Stadium here in Surulere, my eyes are already generating tears.
“I remembered around 1982 when I had the opportunity to participate in one of the Games here, and today, coming as the sports minister and watching the same in this state cannot be something of joy.
“It is a mixed feeling of both joy and sadness. I think we should start to revive all these traditions and also rehabilitate all moribund structures in Nigeria.
“It will be painful to our legends to see where they have made great achievements abandoned. The present state of these facilities is worrisome,” he said.
NAN reports that the NIS graduated over 1,500 students in Diploma and Higher Diploma in Sports Management, Stadium Management, Coaching and Training among others. (NAN)