Reactions have continued to trail the decision by Nigeria Football Federation to control the economic rights of Nigerian national team youth players.
According to the NFF, no player with an agent will be allowed to be part of the national Under 17 team. Invited players to the Golden Eaglets will sign, alongside their parents, their economic rights to the NFF. This was due to the scandals that rocked the last U17 team, with the media awashed with complaints from many dissatisfied agents that their players were dropped for non football reasons.
Expectedly, President of National Association of Nigerian Professional Footballers, Tijani Babangida, MON, has joined other stakeholders and concerned football loving Nigerians to condemn the decision of the football body, in what has been described as ‘draconic and greedy’.
In a statement released by the Office of President of NANPF, and directed to NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, it adviced NFF to discard the idea because, according to the foremost players’ union, the decision will have adverse effects on Nigeria football and footballers.
" Our position is predicated on the fact that this decision is not known to any football law globally. And this decision will be in breach of FIFA regulations of 2015 as it relates to the Third Party Ownership (TPO).
"As you are aware that the economic right arises from the value of the transfer of a player from one club to another, which does not cover the NFF as the country’s football regulator and not a club owner, " the former Nigeria international and Ajax of Amsterdam star player emphasised.
He further noted that it is important to consider relevant provisions and principle guiding our football laws as encapsulated by IFAB enactments, that says, "It is the right of a player who is of age to appoint a representative of his or her choice on issues that affect his or her career . And in the case of an underage he or she shall be represented by a guardian, who has the authority to appoint a qualified agent who would act in good faith and in the interest of the underage player."
Babangida went on to admit that the activities of not a few unscrupulous football agents have negatively affected Nigerian football. He however stated that the decision of the football body would further undermine the development of Nigerian football.
He pointedly stated that the decision also contravenes section 36 which guarrantees the freedom of association and the provisions of FIFA on representation and economic rights of a player, as well as the requirement of representation by a lawyer or intermidiary.
" We believe this policy will not only encourage discrimination and breed corruption in the system, it will also amount to trampling on the fundamental rights of every gifted Nigerian player to have access to playing for the national team.
Conclusively, he remarked that the players union have consulted widely on the vexed issue with football bodies within and outside Nigeria, including the Africa division of Federation of International Football Professionals (Fifpro).
Therefore, the Nigeria Players Union frown seriously at this decision and adviced the NFF to reverse itself by returning to status quo. It also requested the President of the NFF to call for meeting of major stakeholders, including the Players Union, in order to find ways of addressing the scandal associated with the invitation and selection of Players to the National under 17 team.
– Akeem Busari