Dalung accuses federations of stifling sports development

Minister of Youth and Sport, Solomon Dalung and NFF President, Amanju Pinnick.

Minister of Youth and Sport, Solomon Dalung and NFF President, Amanju Pinnick.

Sports Ministry to set up court for good governance

Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, at the weekend accused federations of being responsible for the problems facing sports development in Nigeria, saying their financial profligacy has stunted the growth of the sector.

Addressing journalists at the weekend in Lagos, Dalung, who emphasised that sports development and athletes’ welfare were paramount to his administration, explained that the federations, who rely mostly on the Federal Government for financial support, has the wherewithal to attract corporate and individual sponsorship if they were objective and organized in their financial transactions.

According to the minister, sports, which is a major tool for international relations and could boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings, requires honest managers to interface with the private sector.

He revealed that the funds released by the Federal Government for sports this year has been exhausted because all the federations depend on government for funds, blaming the perennial financial challenges the bodies face before and after international engagements on lack of the will to source for funds from the private sector.

He pledged that the sports ministry would continue creating the avenue for grassroots sports to thrive, saying that grooming sportsmen and women from the grassroots was the only way to grow the sector.

“We cannot depend only on the Federal Government as the sole financial contributor to sports development. The government expenditure have been over stretched on sports and the only way to encourage our athletes to give more is for the federations to start being responsible through being transparent and accountable in any money they generate.

“This would afford corporate bodies and individuals to offer more assistance to the federation,’’ he said.

He revealed that the sports ministry was working on a court of governance, which would monitor the activities of federations to ensure money was not used frivolously.

“The court of governance, which is going through legal review, would be used to check the activities of federations to know the amount spent on athletes, on teams and the number of officials attending an event, how money is spent in the federation and other issues. This would bring transparency into the federations,’’ he added.

He blamed the current face-off between the sports ministry and the women national football team, Super Falcons, on communication gap, saying: “Before the Super Falcons left for Cameroon, they were told that we didn’t have enough money to pay them due to the economic situation in the country.

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