BARIBOTE FROWNS AT NPFL TAG
Deposed chairman of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), Victor Baribote Rumson, has challenged the change of name for the nation's top flight league. The League Management Committee (LMC) changed the name of the elite division from the NPL to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
But Baribote has described the change of name as illegal. 'Did the congress sanction the change of name from the Nigeria Premier League (NPL)?' queried the owner of Nembe City FC.
'Only the congress consisting of the 20 Premier League clubs can approve such a change because the league is owned by the clubs and not appointed officers.' Baribote also challenged the legality of the LMC while talking to supersport.com.
He said that the setting up of the LMC to run the league contradicts Fifa and Caf statutes which the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) operates within. 'There are laws guiding football. This same laws or statutes are same that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) operates within as we have in Fifa and Caf statutes. I don't know where an interim committee is provided for in those statutes to run the league. But because some people don't like the face of Chief Baribote so I was eased out. I know the statutes provide for a league body headed by the first vice president of the football federation but some people have brought ethnic sentiments into our football.
'And in the NPL statutes there are only provisions for the 20 clubs and seven elected members from the different geo-political zones including a chairman to represent the clubs on the board. But now we have 13 appointed persons, making it 33 members instead of 27. So that makes it unlawful, according to the NPL statutes. May be they should just appoint 20 committee members so we will have one member for each of the 20 clubs,' said Baribote.
He also described as unfortunate that the LMC is now waiting for government grant to commence the 2012/13 season. 'It's laughable that they are now seeking government grant to start the league. We were almost 90 percent close to resolving the issue of title sponsorship until they turned the clubs against my board. During the hearing of House of Representatives sports committee on Thursday members of the LMC assured that they will contribute money from their pockets to run the league. Now I'm asking these questions – why was my board forcefully removed from office? For the same reasons for which they removed my board, have they achieved success in those areas? Has the LMC settled the issue of title sponsorship for which they used as an excuse to force out my board?' asked the former Bayelsa United chairman.
'Today in the Premier League, only myself and Senator Bukola Saraki are real club owners and deserve to make valid contributions to the league as we spend our money to run our clubs. So you see some actions do not make people more Nigerian than the other.'
Despite blaming the NFF and the National Sports Commission (NSC) for the crisis in the top flight, Baribote reckons that recalling the (NPL) board he chaired will bring about solutions. He also declared that without such solution, he would continue with his court case challenging his removal as NPL chairman.