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Football | Nigeria

NPL bosses blast Baribote



The Club Owners Association of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) has berated former top flight board chairman, Victor Rumson Baribote for accusing the sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi.

Baribote had this week fingered Nigeria's sports minister for his removal from office as Premier League board chairman in December 2011.

Now the club owners have asked Baribote to prove his claim that the minister influenced them to impeach him and his league board out of office during last month's NPL congress in Abuja.

According to a statement released by the spokesman of the club owners, Mike Idoko on Wednesday, the allegation by Baribote holds no water.

The club owners further stated that the Premier League under Baribote's leadership eroded all gains made over the years by his predecessors.

The statement from the club owners made it clear that Baribote "was never elected in the first place as no election took place."

"Baribote missed the point by saying the minister masterminded his removal. As managers of clubs we know what is good and best for us and we realised late that with the Baribote-led board, the Nigerian (premier) league is heading to the rocks. And for him to allege that the minister masterminded his removal is to say the least insulting to the honourable minister.

"The NPL under Baribote was never elected in the first place as no election took place when the court sacked (Davidson) Owumi. The Club Owners gave him the mandate believing he will bring relief to the comatose league. Title sponsorship became a problem and the clubs were made to bear the brunt of the lack of sponsorship," the statement from the club owners' spokesman read.

The club owners also warned that it will pull out of the present Interim Management Committee for the NPL should it show trait of underdevelopment.

"The Club Owners has never done the bidding of anybody and will never do. We were fed up with the management style of the last board. We did what was right in line with the statutes of the NPL and the power given to clubs by Fifa. If the present board starts following in the footsteps of Baribote, we will have no choice than to pull out," Idoko, who is a member of the interim committee, said on behalf of the club owners.

However, Idoko declined comment on the purported court case instituted against him and 19 others by Baribote, saying he would talk after the case had been settled in court.

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