League Management Company chairman Shehu Dikko has disputed claims of a widespread culture in the Nigeria Professional Football League where clubs owe players backlogs of salaries and bonuses, saying bureaucratic red tape may be to blame for most salary complaints.
Tales abound in the domestic topflight of clubs owing players for months at a stretch and two recent incidents have once again brought the subject under the spotlight.
NPFL side FC IfeanyiUbah were handed a global transfer ban on Tuesday by the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPro) for “repeated non-payment of salaries”.
A day later, players of Rivers United went public with claims of being owed match bonuses for over two seasons.
But Dikko speaking on Channels Television’s “Sports Tonight” claimed the situation is not as dire as is being made out and not at all commonplace in the league.
While conceding that “only one or two clubs” are currently grappling with salary issues, the LMC chairman said players’ welfare has improved markedly and that “clubs pay as at when due”.
Dikko who also doubles as the 2nd vice-president of the Nigeria Football Federation suggested that any delays in players’ salaries may stem from bureaucratic red tape owing to the clubs being owned by government.
“I can assure you many of the clubs pay as at when due, only one or two clubs are having this issue [owing players salaries], most of the clubs have been able to improve their salaries,” Dikko said.
“The ones owned by government the moment the government staff are paid they get paid too.
“If you look at [the situation now], how many clubs have these complaints [owing salaries]? The era of club chairmen taking players’ money and go and do something else is over, that does not happen again.”