Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) major sponsor AITEO has threatened to quit following the crisis that has engulfed the football house.
In a statement signed by its Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Ndiana Matthew, AITEO expressed concern over the lingering crisis, while urging the federation to resolve the imbroglio within 14 days.
“AITEO lends its voice to that of many well-meaning Nigerians in calling for the quick and decisive resolution of the current issues, especially as future campaigns for glory in the African Nations Cup are imminent. Indisputably, cer-tainty and stability with the leadership of the NFF remain pertinent to sponsors like us in order to continue to commit to the growth of Nigerian football in the manner that we have done. The lingering unpalatable situation makes it difficult for us, as a law-abiding organisation, to operate responsibly within the demands placed on us.
“Accordingly, we are constrained to indicate that unless these issues are resolved satisfactorily in the manner dictated by the requirements of the world governing body FIFA, within fourteen (14) days hereof, we will deem ourselves compelled to reconsider our position with respect to participation in the various arrangements in which we are involved. We trust that the observations we have made in this release will provide both assurance and clarification on some of the issues that may have been raised by these circumstances,” the statement stated.
AITEO, however, expressed its willingness to continue its support for the NFF, having been supported the national teams since April 2017. “Aiteo has, since coming into Nigerian Football to take up the provision of financial support to the technical crew for the National Team in April 2017 demonstrated its satisfaction with the relationship by expanding its relationship to cover the sponsorship of the AITEO CUP. Steady satisfaction then led to our sponsorship of the NFF Awards (with the first edition held in Lagos February 2018).
“Additionally, AITEO has supported the NFF with the building of State FA secretariats to support grassroots football development (with 6 across the six zones of the country on the verge of completion and another 12 about to start). AITEO has also heavily supported the quali-fication of the Super Eagles for the 2018 World Cup offering huge incentives and bonuses to motivate the players during critical matches. During the recently concluded 2018 World Cup proper, AITEO hugely motivated the players with a bonus of $50,000 per un-replied goal,” they added.
AITEO, however, emphasised its transparency and account-ability policies in its dealing with NFF, while urging the federation to consider the interest of over 180m Nigerians. “Nigeria has just returned from a World Cup campaign from which the country can feel justifiably proud of its accomplishment at the tournament. The position of the practices and regulation of World Football in FIFA’s statutes, regulations and practices are common knowledge. Whatever the case is, Nigerian football cannot operate in isolation. This compels the absolute necessity to operate within the parameters that regulate the other 210 countries that comprise world football. The prevalence of the current crisis detracts from the exalted heights of respectability Nigeria now enjoys in African and World football. Crises like these are unnecessary dis-tractions and are unhealthy and divisive. If this persists, there will be only one loser – NIGERIA and its 180 Million people! This consequence must be avoided, at all costs.”