NANPF, LMC To Tackle Players Welfare Issue
The National Association of Nigerian Professional Footballers (NANPF) has vowed to keep up pressure on clubs to pay their players their wages and salaries.
The renewed commitment came after the association reached an agreement with the League Management Company to work together in ensuring backlogs are settled.
The 2016/2017 Premier League season begins on Saturday with many clubs yet to pay their players and coaches their salaries and bonuses from previous seasons.
NANPF General Secretary, Austin Popo, who expressed his disappointment with the refusal of the majority of the clubs to pay their players, said the body had decided to work with the LMC.
It was learnt that the players’ union and other groups had allegedly pressured the LMC to suspend the league until the players were paid their entitlements.
It was also learnt that the groups decided to make a U-turn after allegedly coming under pressure from some of the clubs and the LMC.
However, Popo said the players’ body would put defaulting clubs under pressure through the LMC for the players to be paid their entitlements.
The former Flying Eagles forward said that Warri Wolves, Taraba United and Heartland were among the clubs still owing their players.
According to Popo, “The painful thing about the debts owed these players by the clubs is that the managers and owners of these clubs are frustrating our efforts at retrieving the debts, hence we have decided to work directly with the LMC, who have assured us that the debts would be paid before the new season begins, to avoid a repeat of the past situations.
“These club owners have some recovered monies paid to them but they have refused to pay their players.
“Many club owners have these monies but divert them and conveniently owe these players knowing full well that the players would not want to go on strike when we call on them to do so.
“The players only speak out after leaving the clubs owing them for another one, hence they don’t help the cause.”
He added: “In the new season, players’ welfare is going to be our major focus as we have always done.
“We have met with the LMC and the list of players who are owed by their clubs and their account numbers have been forwarded to them (LMC). The LMC will pay them from the entitlements due to the indebted clubs.
“Some clubs have been responding. For instance, Bayelsa United and Gombe United have paid their players as of last week.
“Although the LMC have been doing a lot since they came on board, we have met with them and let them understand that the wages issue could cause disruptions in the league if not properly handled.”