Law News
Senate fixes tenure for NFF President,repeals NFA 2004 Act

THE senate yesterday rose to stop the crisis that had bedeviled the nation’s football sector especially the succession problem in the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, as it finally fixed tenure for the NFF executives.

This was contained in the Repeal and Re-enactment Bill 2014 that seeks to legalize the NFF and reduce government’s interference in football that was passed into law.

The Senate

Speaking after the passage of the bill, Chairman, Senate Committee on Sports, Senator Adamu Gumba explained that the new law would stop friction in the succession problem as there has been fixed tenure for the NFF executives.

He said, “It is a bill that is trying to improve on the Nigerian Football Association Act. It seeks to improve on that particular act, to make sure that most of the provisions of the law comply with FIFA regulations.

“We hear FIFA each time it intervenes in Nigeria’s football administration that it is going to sanction national federation. We have received similar threats this year. That happens when some regulations of FIFA seem to be violated by individual federation.”

“In Nigeria, they observed that we were violating these regulations and they threatened to sanction us. So this particular bill is trying to remove those areas, to make sure that our football administrators now try as much as possible to work in accordance with the governing regulations and laws of FIFA.

“In trying to streamline our activities, to make sure that we work hand in hand because we are recognized and a voluntary member of that particular organization, then we must comply with the regulations governing football worldwide.”

Senator Gumba further explained that the bill was handled by the NFA alongside the Senate Committee on Sports, adding that the relevant stakeholders in the football sector made input after looking at the various provisions of the law and agreed with what the senate proposed.

On the fixing of tenure for NFF executives, he said that that was done after looking at the peculiar nature of Nigeria where even the initial four years given, some members of the football family wouldn’t want to allow the new executive to last for four years.

According to him, “They would try as much as possible to oust them and if that is the case, pegging the tenure to four years will probably improve on what is happening, then whoever comes in to fight or look for your seat will know that there is a law making provision for you to last for two years or eight years at least on that particular position and they will allow you.

“What we have been seeing is that the moment the executive or board completes the first four years, then, there will be turmoil in the football family. There would be trouble, there would be confusion, there would be court actions and counter court actions and so, these are what we are trying to reduce.

“I understand Sepp Blatter is there now as FIFA president for many years and Isa Hayoutu is there for many years. If the Nigerian football family decides to fix their own the way we have presented in the bill, Nigerians will see. I think that we should start somewhere than to jump into another area that we cannot be able to sustain. That is the position.”

He said that the senate would not delve into the selection or appointment of foreign coaches or technical advisers, adding that the primary concern of the red chamber was to try as much as possible to provide the law, while individual members of the football family try to also comply.

“Nigerians are quite interested in litigation, you may make a perfect law and they may decide not to obey the law but the courts are there, the arbitration panels are there to enforce the decisions or the provisions of the law because in football, FIFA frowns at going to court but there are Football Arbitration Panels that can sit down to reconcile, adjudge, adjudicate on matters where you have differences as members of the football family.”

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