The 1st Vice-President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi has urged Nigerian Sports Stakeholders and administrators to put their own individual interest aside and fully support the move of reclassifying Sports from recreation to Business.
He said this while featuring as a guest on an Instagram live interview session with Football Fans Club of Nigeria (FFCN), via the fan club’s handle @officialfootballfansclub.
Akinwunmi who is also a legal practitioner with experience in Business Restructuring stated that the Business side of Sports is an area he had also moved to capitalize on, as far back as eight years ago, only for the tactic to be jeopardized by egoistic administrators:
“Well, for over 10 years, I’ve been talking about just that.
“Until we see Sports as Business and football in particular – because that’s the space in which I play – we are joking, we are going nowhere.”
“Football is a national asset. Honestly, like Oil, Bitumen etc.”
“It is something that brings us together it is a money-maker it is an economic strength that we have, and until we harness it, we will just keep going around the circle, as we have been doing for decades because people think that it’s just a sport, go there, enjoy yourself and all that.”
“Yes, that’s what it is – it’s entertainment – but it’s entertainment that makes money, it’s entertainment that is Business and I’m very very happy that the Honourable Minister (of Youth and Sports development) has taken that direction.”
“It’s the only way to go It’s the only way to sustain our Sports.”
Seyi, who doubles as the Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association was quizzed on the length of time for which Nigerians need to wait before the re-qualification begins to yield fruits.
“It depends on us.’
“If we keep on spending time fighting over trivialities, then it will take us a very long time.”
“If you recall, in 2012, as the Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association, I hosted the biggest “Business of Football” Seminar with Soccerex (a London-based organisation that runs events for the association football industry), we brought it to Lagos.”
“If it hadn’t been because of petty fights and overall pettiness, we would probably have been having the 8th or 9th edition now.”
“Can you imagine what impact that would have had?”
“The impact would have been creation of new businesses around football, and I’ll give you an example, when Agege stadium opened, there’s a woman there who used to sell food, Amala in particular, I would always go there to eat. Within two years of of Football going back to Agege stadium, she had expanded her Business from one small kiosk to 3 different blocks, and that’s what Football can do.”
“But unfortunately for us we are busy being egocentric, everybody is feeling entitled to a certain position while we should all be working together to get the business of Football going.”
“If we agree -and I believe that the Minister that we have now understands that- to push our own individual interests aside and then move Sports forward as a business, before you know it, we will be talking completely different things. “
“And the bigger the business, the better the football and the better the football industry. So, it’s really up to us. We all need to close ranks and put ourselves behind and not in front.”
Source: Opera News