Benefits Of Community Ownership Of Football Club In Nigeria
Benefits Of Community Ownership Of Football Club In Nigeria
As the talks about Community Ownership of Football Club (COFC) in Nigeria is been considered by some clubs, Alonge Akinlolu and EseOghene Edafe analyzed the benefits of COFC on SL10 Nigeria Twitter handle (@SL10Nigeria) on Wednesday.
It'll interest you that the idea of Community Ownership of Football Club in Nigeria is packed with amazing benefits if only Nigerians who knows the importance of football to Nigerians chose to act.
SL10: Good morning EseOghene Edafe. Let's focus on the BENEFITS of Community Ownership of Football Club in Nigeria'.
Edafe: Good morning. Firstly we don't have a football culture in Nigeria, we only have football empathy/sympathy. With community ownership we would create a deep rooted football culture that would be trans-generational. Another benefit is the massive economic gateways it would open directly and indirectly. We also lack the requisite football administrative education, community ownership would give that education.
SL10: In practical terms let's look at the direct and indirect benefits of Community ownership of football club in Nigeria.
Edafe: Community ownership would also connect the next generation of Nigerians with their own club here in Nigeria. It would provide structural and systemic improvement. The pool of funds would be bigger and the players would in turn be better paid and catered for. The burden of running a club would be off the back of one man or government.
The club would have better goodwill amongst its community and larger fan base. As members would always support. The system of players rushing out of the country would be reduced marginally thereby growing the quality of our game. Even clubs in Europe with a single owner, have a functional board. We have a one man over-lord here. Which is sad
SL10: Who will be the biggest gainer if the Community ownership of football club model is adopted?
Edafe: The biggest gainer primarily would be the players, then the Nigerian economy as well as the branding of Nigerian football. Two seasons ago Heartland FC of Owerri failed on the continent due to one man running the business without questions.
SL10: Now let's use a local club as an example, let's the impact of Community Ownership of Football Club amongst the fans, society, league etc.
Edafe: In a community owned club, a club can only fail based on what happens on the field as in results. Not what we have now. Eibar in Spain is in a city of less than 50,000 people but it's community owned a club in the Laliga.
With the CAF/LMC licensing, clubs will struggle to meet certain financial requirements, but a community COFC would meet it easy. For fans it would open a greater networking window. For the society, it would open a bigger trade network and better community good feeling plus recreation and security.
For the league, it would increase competition, raise quality of the game and improve standards. If we implement the COFC system, clubs would for the first time practice financial accountability system. The clubs would start working in line with corporate governance and international best practice.
As it is today Warri Wolves FC were the highest spenders last season, yet their camp is like a slave dungeon. In today's Nigerian league system, the administrators are not answerable to anyone so they are not bond by anything but with COFC, a proper board would be instituted, and then a governing council, the electorate etc.
SL10: Starting the process of COFC in Nigeria could be tough considering that TRUST is lacking. Do you see this as a big hinderance?
Edafe: Yes it is a big problem but if we can trust our thrift(ajor) collector, why not this? It's not just about the money at first. You start a door to door campaign in your neighborhood telling people to come have ownership in your club and take from it. Having done the campaign for a given period, you get them to register a SUPPORTERS TRUST that becomes the carrying vehicle. It is that Supporters Trust that would collect money and administer it on the fans behalf, so it is doable any day.
Yes, for credibility sake you must deal from a legal perspective and earn trust with integrity. Football anywhere in the world is a property of the people, until we key into the passion of the people, we're playing. Warning!!! This would not happen over night. The glory seed of the EPL & others was planted 100's of years ago.
SL10: So can you highlight the impact of COFC outside of football in the society?
Edafe: Employments, training, unity amongst community folks and the sense of pride that comes with seeing success in your hood. It would be a great boost and improve economic activities in the community that owns such clubs. If we have say just 10/15 clubs spread across Nigeria with the COFC model, we'll better our national GDP through football.
SL10: Which club(s) in Nigeria do you think are already considering the COFC model?
Edafe: Teams like COD United FC, Stationery Stores FC and I hear 3SC is looking in that direction too as well as Bolowotan FC. A country's GDP improves when economic/commercial activities increases. With COFC merchandise & sales would improve. Imagine the increase in the spending power of the players, coaches, the club and others.
With increased funding, we can also keep our best legs as well as get some imports from around Africa. We can also open the door for sponsorship for big kit manufacturers like what see with some South African teams. We can also use the professionalism to get club partnership with European clubs. Nigeria is Africa's market hub.
SL10: Thanks for the chat
Edafe: You are always welcome and thanks for your support and belief of Nigerian football.
SL10: Hope to have you again on Friday to finish the series?
Edafe: I would be here to follow up on this discuss as there are so much to be talked about, Nigerians should believe in a good cause.
May I add this; In today's Nigerian football, we don't have club house, insurance, pension scheme etc. CODC would address these. It is okay to admire what is good and great about the European leagues but we must learn enough to implement them at home. We have a lot of people who talk but not willing to back their talk with action. We can make it happen if we put our hearts in.