Nigeria: Uneasy Calm at NFF Over Nike Deal

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There seems to be an uneasy calm within the rank and file of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) following reports that the board may have been compromised in its recent kit deal with sports wear outfit, Nike.
The NFF board announced last week that it has secured a five-year kit contract with Nike worth $750, 000 for all the national teams. But the deal has attracted so many reactions, with the NFF marketing department describing it as slavery and the worst deal the federation has entered into since its inception in 1945.

The department regretted that the NFF board in its discussions with Nike failed to follow the earlier established contact, which it argued, would have placed the federation on a better deal with the kit manufacturing firm.

The Guardian gathered that the NFF marketing department had earlier commenced discussions with Nike before the coming of the new board where an agreement was reached between the two parties to meet and discuss the NFF proposals, following the withdrawal of Adidas from its contract with the federation.

Confirming the development, a marketing department source at the NFF said the department was surprised that the Amaju Pinnick led board refused to carry it along in the discussions with Nike, even when it was clear before them that a link had been established before they assumed office on September 30, 2014.

The source regretted that the board in its desperation failed to study the past deal with Adidas, which, he noted, should have been improved upon to ensure that Nigeria got a better deal with Nike, adding that rather than secure a better deal for the country, the NFF board enslaved the national teams in a deal where Nike’s responsibly was to provide only jerseys for Nigerian teams to advertise it without any form of retainership.

“When we got the Adidas deal, we did not qualify for the Germany 2006 World Cup. In the South Africa 2010 World Cup when the Super Eagles crashed out in the first round, Adidas still maintain its contractual obligation with us but it was based on the personal relationship we have with the kit company. We had already packaged a very robust renewal proposal for Adidas after the 2014 World Cup, but the kit company later pulled out of the deal for many reasons.

“We exploited other avenues to sign another kit sponsor. On September 11, 2014, even before the new board took over, the marketing department had initiated a proposal to Nike through their representative, Tina Saliminien. The bill we gave to Nike was $12.5 million as retainership fee based on global perspective of what they are giving other countries.

In the concluding part of the proposal, we noted: “In view of the above, we will like to propose the terms of engagements as follows. A retainership fee of $12.5 million per annum for a minimum term of six years with 20 per cent increment per annum subject to terms and conditions to be stipulated in the contract agreement.

Royalty on sales of replica have 20 per cent proceed subject to a guaranteed minimum $750 per annum. That is royalty but the qualification bonus will be discussed when we get to the negotiation table,” he said.

According to the source, Nike replied through its representative, Tina Saliminien, noting: “Thank you for considering Nike as supplier for your Nigerian national teams, we have looked at your offer and discussed it internally but unfortunately I have to inform you that your request is far away from what we are able to pay on an African national team unless you are able to dramatically come down with your financial request. We will not be able to attempt to make any offer.”

He noted that Nike in its reply had already indicated its interest in the deal but insisted that it must be given opportunity to negotiate, wondering how the board could sign a deal for only provision of kits when it was notified of the discussions so far with Nike.

“All these moves in September 11, 2014 were done when this current board has not come on board. But when the board resumed, they felt that some people were not in their good books and those they considered enemies must go to be able to hijack the Nike deal.

They did it without minding those who laid the foundation. They sidelined some people who have high bargaining strength with Nike and signed a contract that made the federation look as a very cheap commodity. The federation signed a slave contract with Nike that has no monetary attachment.

“The $750.000 mentioned in the contract was the value of the kits. What the Nike contract means is that it will produce jersey for the Nigeria national teams to wear and advertise the company. It is obvious that the contract is not in the best interest of the country”.

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