The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is going through its worst financial crisis since its creation in 1945.
Sport commentators believe this came about as a result the economic recession in Nigeria and the constant crisis rocking the Glass House under Amaju Pinnick.
Despite Pinnick denying less than a week ago that the NFF was broke, the Delta-born administrator has informed the National Assembly that his association did not have money for Sunday’s Fifa 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia in Ndola.
“Before now we had done a request to government for intervention, because funds were not coming from our sponsors,” said Pinnick.
“It has been very difficult for them, so they claimed. So we had no choice but to resort to writing to the government. We are now awaiting a response from them and the game is just in five days.”
Pinnick added that the NFF had made flight and accommodation arrangements, but require money to make payments.
On Wednesday, Senator Obinna Ogba, himself a former NFF executive committee member, raised a motion on the floor of the house asking for urgent intervention as the NFF was unable to fund the game.
Under Pinnick’s predecessor, Aminu Maigari, the NFF received a monthly grant of up to N160million. With the exchange rate holding steady during that time at around N140 to the US dollar, that came to just over $1million per month.
Sponsorship provided a gross figure of N750million per annum. That came to roughly N63million per month and about $450,000 monthly.
In total, previous NFF administrations were funded to the tune of about $1.5million monthly. Yet complaints of underfunding remained.
Under Pinnick, the figure from government has dropped to N60million.Sponsorship has barely managed to hold steady, although there have been losses from the termination of the Adidas kit deal.
The naira has also crashed to N400 to the US dollar – an average of $150,000 per month – which resolves to 10 percent of what the previous administration used to receive. Or put in a different way, a 90 percent reduction in funding.
By contrast, expenses have not gone down. In fact, in dollar terms, they have actually increased. Ticket refunds alone to Europe-based Super Eagles players and match bonuses for just one game come to over $200,000. That’s more than the NFF’s entire monthly allocation from government!
For example, an away match like this weekend’s against Zambia would cost the NFF around $550,000 to prosecute. That would not include local camping, which typically costs as much as N50million to N60million.