The National Association Of Nigeria Professional Footballers (NANPF) have petitioned the Trade Union Congress to prevail on the Federal government through the Sports Ministry to step in and stop the national embarrassment, following the unpaid salaries and allowances from the just concluded African Women Championship coupled with a backlog of other indemnities ranging from the Olympic qualifiers to the All African Games owed the senior women national football team, the Super Falcons .
The Player’s Union is demanding the Nigeria Football Federation take responsibility for the situation by ensuring the Players and the officials are paid their full entitlement without further delay, also in the same breathe condemning in strong terms the statement credited to the honorable Minister for Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung , that adequate preparation was not made to offset the payment of the players’ entitlements because they did not expect them to win the AWCON Cup.
In the statement released by the National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers, through its General Secretary Comrade Austin Popo, it’s believed the situation was avoidable with proper dialogue, sensitivity and transparency on the part of the authorities.
“There is no doubt the NFF is cash strapped and government release of funds is dysfunctional, but it is important the welfare of the Players and coaches should be of top priority in the disbursement of the little fund available”.
“Better still let the leadership of our Football and sports authorities make personal sacrifices in ensuring the issue of players and coaches take center stage above personal interest”.
NANPF claims to have received information through private investigation that 40 million naira (N40,000,000) was expended on chartered flight to and fro Cameroun for the finals of the African Women Nations Cup, with about fifteen officials including the Hon. Minister of Sports and top echelon of the NFF on board without concrete arrangement to pay the players and coaches. The Union also sent out a strong warning in the statement regarding the rumors to ban or suspend players for their protest by the NFF, claiming the girls have a right to , having served and brought glory to their fatherland, as true champions recession or no recession.
“We advise the leadership of the NFF against stories going round about banning some of the players and coaches for demanding for their rights as this could fan the embers of further discord and should be jettisoned if it was a thought”.
The players since coming back from their conquest in Cameroon have refused to vacate their hotel on grounds of unpaid salaries and allowance owed and this continues to be a big issue in the Nigerian media space.