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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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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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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Setting Up Nigeria’s Court of Arbitration for Sport

As a result of the FIFA ban on Nigeria and in line with efforts to forestall similar crisis in future, the Minister of Sports, Tammy Danagogo has stated that he will immediately set in motion machinery to encourage the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) to quickly activate the Nigerian Court of Arbitration for Sport (NCAS). This specialized court would be the venue for adjudication of sports disputes, away from the regular courts –which has been a source of run-ins with the world football governing body (FIFA) in times past. It is common knowledge that FIFA prohibits the taking of sports disputes[…]

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Dispute Resolution in Nigerian Football: the Need for a National Dispute Resolution Chamber

Article published on African Sports Law and Business Journal – African Sports Law and Business Bulletin, Issue 2/2014   1. Introduction As sport has grown over the years in terms of commercial value, there has been a corresponding growth in sports-related disputes. This increased commercial significance of sport means that the stakes are higher than ever before. Not only are there heightened expectations from the on-field performance of sports men and women; there are also increasingly significant off-field obligations on all those involved in sports. Where obligations are unfulfilled, there must be a means of enforcing them. Also, when disputes arise,[…]

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LGBT Rights: Is Sport Pushing it too Far?

Introduction There is a manifest increase in the global acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) as a lifestyle and also as the subject of human rights worthy of being safeguarded. From the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1952[1] to the passing of a resolution on the rights of LGBT by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011[2], more and more individuals and nations have begun to accept and/or tolerate unconventional sexual orientation and gender identity. Between 2008 and 2011, Fiji, Rwanda and Sierra Leone switched from opposing LGBT rights to supporting them at the[…]

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