The Nigeria Football Federation has dismissed as misleading, statements by former Youth and Sports Minister Solomon Dalung at the weekend that the Federation omitted the budget for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations from its 2019 programmes sent to the Ministry.
“There is no truth to the claim that the NFF omitted the AFCON from its budget,” NFF Executive Committee member and Chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee, Hon. (Dr) Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande told thenff.com on Sunday. “The truth is that major competitions are never part of the regular budgets since, in most cases, qualification campaigns are still on course while budgets are being prepared for the following year. Thus, they are always sourced from intervention funds.
“We qualified for the 2019 AFCON in November 2018, after the 1-1 draw with South Africa in Johannesburg. That was too late to include in the budget for 2019, which we had submitted around September/October 2018. So, we knew the grace would be for the AFCON fund to be sourced from special intervention, and not from the proposal that had been submitted earlier as regular program.
“For instance, the 2018 FIFA World Cup budget was also sourced from intervention fund. We qualified for that competition in October 2017 and we could not have included it in the regular program for the year 2018.”
Kwande, who actually defended the NFF budget for the year 2019 at the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, said that the NFF at this time is only interested in ensuring that the National Teams (male and female) excel at their respective tournaments in which they are representing Nigeria, and would ordinarily not respond to Mr. Dalung’s statements, but noted that it is important to put records straight to avoid misleading the public.
“For the regular annual budgets, we put together our budget for every competition and send to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, which then puts a covering note and recommends to the Presidency, from where the document heads to the Finance Ministry and then onwards to the Budget Office. Since this NFF administration came into office, as was the case for some time before it, the Federation usually received what is called an ‘envelope’. So, the only way to prosecute major competitions is to depend on the grace of intervention funds.
“Few weeks after we qualified for the AFCON 2019, we sent a budget to the Ministry. We sent this same budget about three times as we were always being told to re-submit.