Calm Down, Rangers are not yet Champions.

One can understand the excitement over the imminent end to the three-decade wait for a trophy that Rangers International – one of the historical clubs in the Nigerian league – has had to endure. Their 2-1 away win at Ikorodu United coupled with Rivers United being held at home to a goalless draw by Abia Warriors has placed the Flying Antelopes (as Rangers are fondly called) on the verge of league victory for the first time since 1984. However, even though many media outlets, pundits, fans and even players have declared Rangers as winners of the current NPFL season, the[…]

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South-West Derby: May the True Stars Shine Today

  The star match of match-day 29 in the NPFL is undoubtedly the oriental derby between Enyimba (Aba) and Rangers (Enugu), which is live on Supersport at 4pm today. Both are the most successful teams in the history of the Nigerian league, with 7 and 6 trophies respectively. Although Rangers have endured a 32-year trophy drought, this season, they are well in the hunt for the league title to equal Enyimba’s record. Just below these teams in terms of trophy count is Shooting Stars (Ibadan), with 5 titles. Their South-West derby with Sunshine Stars (Akure) also comes up today and[…]

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How the Court of Appeal Dismissed Giwa’s Case

I have just spent the past hour reading through the 53-page decision of the Court of Appeal in the infamous ‘Giwa case’ and thought to pen these thoughts. On 25th July, 2016 the Court of Appeal, sitting in Jos, overruled the decision of the Federal High Court, which had earlier relisted the case, leading to controversy as to the effect of that decision, with the Giwa group claiming that the decision recognized Chris Giwa as the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). Perhaps it is worth stating here that although the original case was actually filed by Yahaya Adama[…]

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What Nigerian Courts Should Learn from Piau’s Case

Challenges to decisions and rules of sports governing bodies are not new. Despite the well-entrenched principle of self-regulation, sports governing bodies occasionally have to defend their decision-making in courts of law. The trend in Nigeria, particularly involving football disputes, is indeed worrying. The frequency of court cases and the mostly interim judgments that arise from them often generate a sense of instability, distraction from the core process of administration and ultimately lower the brand appeal from a business perspective. What began 18 years ago, when Laurent Piau filed a complaint before the European Commission against the FIFA Players’ Agents regulations,[…]

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Giwa & Co. – What the Court Actually Decided

From 8th April 2016, the news all over the place was that the Federal High Court (FHC), Jos Division had made an order nullifying the 30th September 2014 election of the NFF that brought the Amuju Pinnick-led board into office. This was followed by a public drama in which the Chris Giwa-led faction occasionally insisted on resuming office amid fears of a breakdown of law and order. About three weeks later, on 28th April 2016, a video emerged of the Registrar of the court, explaining to an interviewer, that the orders made by the court on 8th April did not[…]

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Understanding FIFA’s ‘No Court’ Rule

The ‘Giwa vs. Pinnick’ battle for the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Presidency has resumed and resurrecting with it is an order of the Federal High Court, Jos Division, which set aside the NFF election of 30th September, 2014 that brought the Amaju Pinnick-led board into office. On 11th April, 2016, FIFA issued a letter to Mr. Pinnick – whom it recognizes as the President of the NFF – warning that the implementation of the court decision “would likely be considered as an interference in the internal affairs of the NFF” (contrary to FIFA regulations), as a result of which sanctions[…]

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Sunday Oliseh: Last Chance Saloon for Nigerian Coaches

With Sunday Oliseh expected to be unveiled as the new head coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, a lot of talk has centred on whether or not he is the right pick, given his lack of top-level coaching experience. Upon retirement, the former captain of the Super Eagles went on to acquire the highest coaching qualification available – the UEFA Pro Licence – held by the elite band of coaches qualified to manage any team in any of the top leagues. However, his coaching experience is limited to the Belgian second division. Those critical of Oliseh’s lack of coaching[…]

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NPFL: Understanding the 3-Year-Minimum-Contract Rule

A lot has been said about the three-year-minimum-contract rule being implemented in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). Some have argued against it, while others have argued in favour of it. Whereas the aim of the rule is to enhance contractual stability and welfare of players, there are those who feel that it ties players down to contracts which clubs often fail to implement. Strangely enough, among the antagonists of this rule is the Association of Professional Footballers of Nigeria (APFON), whose aim is the labour-unionist goal of protecting the interest of players. The Association argued in a recent petition,[…]

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Understanding the League Governance Structure in the NPFL: The LMC Model

  Introduction For the past couple of seasons, the Chairmen and Managers of the elite football clubs in Nigeria have – in addition to their on-field battles – been fighting to exclude the League Management Company (LMC) from the management and operation of the top-flight football league in Nigeria. This battle is based on what they deem to be their right to elect an Executive Board from amongst themselves to exclusively manage the league in which they participate. Historically, professional football league commenced in Nigeria in 1990 by virtue of decrees of the then Federal Military Government; however, since the[…]

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