The Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare says the country must be ready to address and overcome funding constraints as she prepares to organize and participate in several domestic and international competitions in 2022.
Speaking at the 2022 Budget Defence session with the House of Representatives Committee on Sports Development in Abuja on Monday, Dare highlighted some of the challenges the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is facing in prosecuting most of its sporting activities.
His words: “Without mincing words, participation in national, continental and International competitions which have brought much glory and goodwill to the country is capital intensive. The reality is that the Ministry has been greatly challenged in prosecuting these activities owing to its very slim overhead.
“The financial requirements of our forty two national sports federations as submitted by them cannot be completely accommodated within the overhead budget envelope of the Ministry.
“The activities of these federations are instrumental to our participation in International sporting events. These huge financial requirements further underscore the need to accord the Ministry enhanced funding,” Dare pleaded.
Quizzed by a lawmaker about the plans of the Ministry to help revive domestic football and the Nigeria Professional Football League(NPFL), Dare said it would require collective action from every stakeholder to turn things around for the better.
“We all have to get involved and even get some legislation to back us up before we can begin to see changes,” he opened up, “The structure of our clubs needs to change if we want to see fans fill up the stands at our stadia to watch our domestic games. Most of our clubs are government owned and professionalism is not a priority.
“There are little or no facilities, the welfare package for players in most clubs is not encouraging, club licensing regulations are not enforced. All these things have kept our domestic football in the doldrums.
“From 2022, we will ensure that the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF)who have oversight responsibilities over the League Management Company(LMC)are able to ensure stricter adherence to the club licensing regulations, even if we will end up having only six clubs meeting the standard, then have the games shown on television and on the NPFL.TV online platform so Nigerians can keep tabs with happenings around the clubs and games,” the Minister stated.
The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Sports Development, Honourable Olumide Osoba had earlier applauded the Sports Minister and his team for initiating programmes that have impacted Nigerian sports positively in the last two years.