Sports journalists in Nigeria have demanded that professional football clubs in the country should start making details of their contracts with their players public.
The journalists said this will stem what they described as the huge exploitation of players currently going on in the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL.
This was the general consensus reached by the journalists after a one day workshop on “Intensifying Investigative Journalism in Nigerian Sports” held at the Civic Media Lab, Lagos on Thursday, 26th April.
The workshop was organized by Civic Media Lab in collaboration with frontline sports outfit, PLAYYA Nigeria for sports journalists to discuss the state of corruption in the Nigerian sports circle.
The journalists also bemoaned lack of efforts to develop talents at the
grassroots and how proper talents never get the opportunity to excel and even when they do, they fall in the hands of agents, who exploit them.
Several questions were also raised by the sports journalists on issues in the sector, including the backlash after last year’s sports federation elections, the Nigerian Football Federation and the secrecy of the details of all her sponsorship deals and the management of NPFL.
Director of the Civic Media Lab, Seun Akinfolarin called on sports journalist to stop being part of the problem and see themselves as change agents.
“There is a need for the media to play its role in the society. Over the years, most journalists have become lackeys to the sports administrators thereby neglecting their roles as a check on these people,” Akinfolarin said.
“We need to bring back meritocracy in our sports both in administration and in the area of talent scouting and nurturing. We need to ensure the right people get to the right places and stop these nepotism and red tapism currently going on in our sports,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, Director of Playya Nigeria, Eze Aloysius bemoan the fate of journalists who have had to neglect their roles as a result of organizational impediments.
“Media organisations are not helping matters. Most journalists are owed salaries running from months to years, this makes these journalists look for alternative sources of income,” Aloysius said.
“Even those that are not owed have some stories no matter how true can never be published or reported by certain organisations because of their affiliations or interests. All these make it difficult for the journalists to carry out proper investigation on several thorny issues,” he added.
At the end of the workshop, participants agree on the need to unearth several misdeeds that has permeated Nigerian sports, thereby impeding its development despite the huge potentials.