The League Management Company Limited (LMC) has reassured members of the football fraternity in Nigeria, its corporate sponsors and the Nigerian public that there has not been any judicial pronouncement, order or decision that restrains, impedes or jeopardises its operations and the organisation of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The clarification is sequel to enquiries and observed misrepresentations in a section of the media on the recent pronouncement of a Lagos High Court in a pending suit before the court. A statement by the Chief Operating Officer of LMC, Salihu Abubakar reads in part, “the LMC is aware of the several orchestrated misleading reports carried in the media about an interlocutory ruling given in a suit pending before the High Court of Lagos State. The general public should be informed that these reports do not represent the accurate state of affairs as pertaining to the suit. The suit is still pending and the hearing of the main case is even yet to commence. No final order or judgement has been delivered in the case”.
It went on to provide the true position of the said order and explained that “the correct position with the interlocutory order granted by the court which has been variously misrepresented in some media reports, is that the trial court ordered that LMC should not interfere with the contract between Total Promotions Ltd and the 1st defendant in the case, (the Nigeria Football League Ltd [NFLL]), which body was recently declared illegal by Hon. Justice D. U. Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in a judgment delivered on 20th January 2012, and ordered to be mandatorily wound up by the Corporate Affairs Commission for failure to comply with the law governing the registration of companies in Nigeria in its formation and composition.
“The position maintained by the LMC is that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the alleged contract between Total Promotions Ltd and NFLL and will never have anything to do with NFLL which has been declared an illegal body by the court. The other point made in the ruling is that the LMC should not interfere with a contract, which contract if it existed, was never produced before the court by Total Promotions Ltd and the terms of which are unknown to LMC”.
The LMC further disclosed that in exercise of its constitutional right and to stem the deliberate misrepresentation of the true state of affairs, an appeal against the said order has been filed on July 3, 2014.
“Our Notice of Appeal is based on several grounds including that; the Learned Judge presiding over the case gave an order in respect of a contract that was never produced in evidence before the Court (even when LMC’s Lawyers pointed out repeatedly to the court that the alleged contract was not before the court) and has thereby disabled herself from hearing the main case by unfairly prejudging the merits of the case at the interlocutory stage”, the statement disclosed.
The LMC recalled that a different Judge of the same High Court of Lagos State had earlier this year given judgment in favour of LMC when it ruled that “the LMC is distinct and separate from NFLL and as such contracts between NFLL and third parties cannot be imposed on LMC. In the face of this ruling which has clarified the status of LMC, the case by TPL is nothing more than an elaborate ruse to impose on LMC the contracts which TPL had entered into with a body we now know should not have been carrying on business in the first place, NFLL. The ruling fortifying the position of LMC was delivered on 21st January, 2014 in Suit No. M/145/12: Emmanuel Oboh & Anor. vs. Nigeria Football League Limited and League Management Company Ltd and First Bank of Nigeria Ltd”.
It further requested all true stakeholders of football in Nigeria to disregard the mischievous news reports about the suit and described them as “nothing but a deliberate ploy to misinform and create hysteria in the minds of the public about the NPFL”.
The League body reiterated its commitment to an enduring reform and transformation of the elite professional football league in Nigeria to the benefit of the players, Clubs, corporate sponsors and the true owners of the league, the football-loving Nigerians.