From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) seem to have buried the hatchet over the protracted crisis between them, as the ministry yesterday approved the release of fund to the federation.
The Minister, Solomon Dalung, who made the disclosure on the sideline of the ongoing stakeholders meeting on anti-doping, blamed the withholding of the releases since the end of the Russia World Cup, on its inability to retire the N1.6 billion World Cup funds.
Asked if there is light at the end of the tunnel over the crisis, he said: “When people talk about reconciliation with the NFF, I tend to wonder. I am in charge of the ministry of Youth and Sports Development, NFF is a parastatal under my ministry and I have the responsibility of over-sighting and ensuring that the rules and regulations are complied. All I did was to raise an issue, which they went public, denying government funding, but I said it was not correct because it was putting government in bad light.
“We actually funded every activity of football in Nigeria. Government funded all the matches played during the World Cup. We released about N1.6 billion to them during the World Cup, which they were unable to give us retirement. This was misconstrued as if there was crisis. There cannot be crisis because I was just doing my job. I want them to do what is right,”
On the trending picture he took with Pinnick in London, he said: “Yes, the president of NFF ambushed me with the governor, who is my friend. I was just stepping out when the governor said we would do something unusual. I asked how and he ask can I allow him bring in someone, and I asked who and he said Pinnick. I told him that in view of the relationship I have nothing is impossible.