Nigerian Football Federation President Ibrahim Gusau will meet on Thursday (today) with representatives of the 20 clubs in the Nigerian Professional Football League, the NPFL Interim Management Committee, the Nigerian Referees Association Nigeria and the members of the newly reconstituted NFF referees and matches. committees of commissioners in Abuja.

The meeting, which was called in separate instances, is a crucial convergence of stakeholders ahead of the start of the NPFL 2022/23 season, which has raised issues between the IMC and club owners, most of whom have manifested against the abbreviated format adopted. for this season by BMI.

The draw for the 2022/23 season was held on the penultimate Wednesday in Abuja, with just four clubs 3SC, Remo Stars, Niger Tornadoes and newly promoted Doma United, in attendance while the other 16, who preferred the full league , boycotted the ceremony in protest. about the league format.

IMC Head of Operations Davison Owumi sent out the notice of the meeting to the clubs, which read in part: “In preparation for the start of the 2022/2023 NPFL season, I wish to notify you of the scheduled meeting of the President. of the Nigerian Football Federation with the presidents of the clubs of the NPFL, the IMC and the NRA”.

But NPFL stakeholders and close supporters criticized the exclusion of the league’s title rights holder, Total Promotions, from crucial deliberations before the start of the league.

the punch had reported last month that, in an attempt to achieve its mandate to reposition the league, the IMC held a meeting with the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja, with discussions reportedly centering on how national television could partner with the body. league to broadcast live NPFL matches to Nigerians.

It was also reported that IMC has opened talks with MultiChoice to get SuperSports to broadcast the league to an international audience.

Some enthusiastic supporters of the events leading up to the league’s opener on Sunday insist that leaving Total Promotions behind could spark legal battles over title and ownership of the league’s broadcast rights.

“It is absurd and unthinkable that the IMC, which is made up of people who know that Total Promotions owns the rights to the league, are the same people who want to go ahead to broadcast the league illegally. This may cause further legal problems for the league, if not resolved properly,” a concerned stakeholder told our correspondent.

After IMC’s meeting with the NTA, our correspondent learned that Total Promotions wrote to both parties, warning them of the legal implications of broadcasting the league, while it still held the title and broadcast rights.

In the letter titled ‘Buyers Beware!’ and dated November 8, 2022, addressed to NTA CEO Salihu Abdulhamid Dembos, Total Promotions owner Niyi Alonge warned the broadcaster against broadcasting the league.

“We inform you that following the ongoing legal dispute at the Lagos High Court in case No: LD/997/2013 between Total Promotions Limited (plaintiff), Nigeria Football League Limited/League Management Company (defendants), the court ordered an interlocutory interlocutory measure of restriction. Defendants from interfering in any way with the performance of the broadcast rights agreement between Plaintiff and Defendants,” the statement read in part.

“Therefore, you (NTA) are advised not to proceed with any further act that would amount to ignoring court rulings, including the attached Supreme Court rulings. NTA’s attempt to get involved in this broadcast rights issue will be seen as a disdain for court rulings, including the ruling of the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land. Also, given LMC’s appeal, that makes the matter even more prejudicial. You (NTA) have been put on notice.”

In the meantime, the IMC will also present a N10m take-off grant to each of the 20 clubs.

IMC President Gbenga Elegbeleye said: “We promised to support the clubs through our sponsors, and we will. Remember we had a four team pre-season tournament, each of the clubs got N10m as their share and the winners got N100m. So what we say we do and this season’s winners will again get N100m.

“Our own agreement is that sponsors will pay referees directly, so we will eliminate the possibilities of duty to referees or referees doing the bidding of home teams and any club found to be lacking in crowd violence will not be subject to fines. money but three. points will be deducted from them. We have to change the narrative in order to have a better league”.