By Amaechi Agbo
The National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers, NANPF, has vowed to seek all constitutional means to address the growing tendency of unfair labour practices employed by clubs against their players plying their trade in the local league.
The union in a release signed by its head of communication, Comrade Danladi Musa, listed the unfair labour practices exhibited by clubs to include their refusal to pay salaries and match bonuses to the players as agreed in their contracts; lack of good medical services, denying players copies of their contract and denial of redress mechanism.
Worried that the players cannot seek redress openly and are dying in silence, the union therefore vowed to take any legal means outside the internal football arbitration mechanism which it says has failed, to seek redress over the worrisome practices.
“National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers, NANPF note with grave concern the unfolding but secret cases of Nigerian locally based footballers tied to unfair labour practices by many Nigerian local football clubs, both at the Amateur and Professional League levels.
“These unfair labour practices includes refusal to pay salaries, match bonuses as agreed; lack of good medical services, denying players copies of their contract and denial of redress mechanism
“The Union is disturbed following the online reports by the punch newspaper of 31st December 2017, and Sun newspaper of January 13, 2018 and an international Non-Governmental Organization, Ashes Unite Foundation Video testimony, that while the Super Eagles and Falcons make us proud outside the shores, our local league which is our national pride, an agent of peaceful co-existence, an emerging alternative source of revenue for the country is at risk of losing its credibility in the light of these challenges.
As a body vested with the responsibility of protecting and promoting the interest and rights of players in Nigeria, the Union is worried that these players cannot complain openly due to fear of some sports administrators who threaten them with “career funeral” if they do.
“Faced with these numerous pitfals, the Union is further worried that the Nigerian Football Federation the apex Football body in Nigeria is not doing enough to address these issues and there is still a need to do more in enforcing their arbitration decisions on players’ salaries and welfare, considering the huge sums of money owed these players and coaches which spans many years and with many of these players dying in silence, and their families laboring in great penury,” the statement read.
The union went on to mention clubs found guilty of this obnoxious acts as Nassarawa United, Akwa United, Wilki Tourist, Sunshine Stars and Taraba United, just to mention a few, are good examples as documented evidence shows more than two hundred footballers across board are owed which runs into hundreds of millions of Naira and these sums remain unpaid not minding the decision of the NFF Players Status and Arbitration Committee.