A cross section of the players in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) has kicked against the January 31 kick-off for the 2015/2016, insisting issues concerning their welfare should first be addressed.
The players said the League Management Company (LMC) ought to put their welfare first and make sure all the outstanding debts owed them last season have been settled, while making proper arrangements on how they will be paid regularly in the new season before the league commences again.
The players argued if LMC went ahead to start the league without safeguarding the welfare of the main characters, they would be disappointed.
Despite several bold initiatives to restore the credibility of the league, unpaid salaries, bonuses and allowances by most clubs tarnished the past season.
Warri Wolves midfielder Ichul Lordson said the league should be more concerned about ensuring the welfare of the players rather than rushing everyone into another campaign that will be tarnished by numerous cases of unpaid salaries and bonuses.
“How can the league have a kick-off date when they have not still spoken on the players’ welfare and other financial matters?,” he queried.
“So, they just believe in organizing the league without considering the welfare of the main actors. They just must settle how players will be paid regularly first.”
Bayelsa United captain Salomon Junior maintained that the league should not start until all the clubs have settled their indebtedness to the players, while ensuring such contract breaches do not happen in the new season.
“The league shouldn’t start if the debts owed the players were not paid in full,” Junior said.
Akwa United vice-captain and goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode said all the club’s should be made to pay their outstanding debts to players before anything is said about the start of a new season.
“All the clubs should pay their outstanding debts to the players before the new season will start,” he urged.
“The well-being of the players should be the LMC major concern now because players are suffering in the Nigeria league.
“Imagine Taraba players sleeping in front of the Government House for many days because they were not paid for 11 months.”
An influential player of Sunshine Stars added: “I think this is the time we will know if LMC really have players’ welfare in mind. League should not start until our welfare and future payments are guaranteed.”

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