The management of Lagos-based Vandrezzer Football Club pulled out of the National Football League.
In a statement issued by management, the club made a lot of damning allegations against the management of the NNL, one of which is that “the management of the Nigeria National League is not in any way comfortable with the transformation and advancement being brought to bear in the running of the league.”
Vandezzer said before they enrolled to take part in the league, they applied and got approval from the NNL that they would stream all their matches, both home and away. The club said, “In our bid to reposition the league and open it up to become visible enough to be able to generate revenue in accordance with global best practices; we requested and received written approval from the hierarchy of the Nigeria National League an approval to stream live, all our games home and away. Our intentions were to expose the league to the world, at enormous expense to us and our sponsors, in order for easy marketability and standardization.”
After a smooth start to the season, “in week 4 against Osun United in Osogbo, hoodlums amongst the fans, defiantly allowed into the stadium against the directives from the NNL and NCDC on COVID-19 pandemic protocols; attacked our cameras, vandalized the cables, intimidated players and officials of our team, including the appointed match officials and prevented further recording of the game.
Upon a written protest submitted to the NNL on the matter, and in a landmark decision by the League body, Osun United FC was banished to Ilorin, the result of the match was cancelled and scheduled for a replay while Osun United FC were penalized and asked to bear the costs of vandalized items of our club. To our greatest shock, within days of the decision, the NNL reversed itself upholding the result of the match and gave three points back to Osun United. With this development, Vandrezzer FC who was the victim of assault and intimidation had to make another payment to register our displeasure over the new decision. We promptly made a written appeal on this decision of the NNL, which as at the time of this release, is yet to be heard.”
The club also complained of another problem when they travelled to Calabar to meet Rovers Football Club. “Rovers FC refused to allow us into the U. J. Esuene stadium with more than 2 cameras until a directive from their State Government compelled them to do so eventually.”
At Omokun, it was a different ball game as their host, Go Round FC demanded for N1m before they would be allowed to stream the match. “Even the urgent letter transmitted to the NNL informing them of the hostile reception at Omoku was ignored. We recall our recent experience with Osun United FC, where our crew and the match officials were violently intimidated. Our crew survived the onslaught. In order to avoid any confrontation with the home team at Omoku and after waiting until the final hour for a reaction or resolution by NNL, when it was not forthcoming, we made the decision to leave Omoku.”
Vandrezzer said during the hearing, the NNL refused to acknowledge the reason why the match was not played and rather fined Vandrezzer N1m and awarded three points to Go Round.
The club, therefore, said, “It is obvious and crystal clear from the aforementioned that the management of the Nigeria National League is not in any way comfortable with the transformation and advancement being brought to bear in the running of the league and would therefore stop at nothing to frustrate any team or club attempting to change the narrative.”
This is a very tough decision for the club but it has to be made. It is indeed a dark day for Nigerian football!
Our heart bleeds over the fate of the multitude of persons employed in our organization that would be added to the growing list of the unemployed. It is a shame that at the turn of the 21st century and with the advancements in technology in the world of football, we are still haggling over the number of cameras to be deployed to live stream a match in Nigeria, and there is no uproar about it.
How then do we hope to improve our game and compete with developed leagues, even across Africa?
We at Vandrezzer FC are happy to have contributed our little quota to the process of showcasing our beloved country to the world and promoting the league, with enormous resources deployed; and we shall not hesitate to do so all over again whenever the opportunity presents itself in a conducive atmosphere, hopefully in the near future.