The League Management Company (LMC) on Tuesday in Abuja signed a five-year partnership deal with the Spanish Premier League (La Liga) for the development of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Shehu Dikko, LMC Chairman, led its management while La Liga President Javier Tebas, led the Spanish delegation to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Dikko said that the partnership would see Nigerian coaches and clubs embark on capacity building tour of Spain and also see the La Liga establish a liaison office in Nigeria.
``We are excited with what happened today because it will help in our quest to change the face of football in Nigeria, using the international best practices.
``We are privileged to lead the reform that is expected to take Nigerian league to the next level.
``La Liga is one of the richest leagues in the world. So, we want to tap from them to make our league better.
``We are working with them on technical issues of developing the league. But, most importantly, they will develop our coaches and players as well as commercial activity.
``The next thing is to get Nigerians to put money into the league because this is our biggest challenge; however, the partnership will also involve marketing.
``Major leagues in the world want to associate with the NPFL and in no distant time, the result will begin to manifest,’’ Dikko said.
On his part, Tebas said the benefits of the partnership deal signed with the LMC would depend how better the NPFL becomes in future.
In a remark, Spain's Ambassador to Nigeria, Alfonso Barnuevo Sebastián de Erice, said his country is Nigeria's third best client on the economic front and would want the relationship replicated in sports.
``Spain and Nigeria have strong relations which are strategic and our political relationships are based on friendship, trust and good understanding.
``Regarding the economic relations, we are the third best client of Nigeria with4.5 billion Euros of oil and gas bought by Spain.
``The MoU signed today will make our sports on mutual relations also strategic; La Liga is one of the most important companies in Spain and its presence in Nigeria is very important,’’ de Erice said.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, who witnessed the signing, said a page had been opened in the history of football in Nigeria.
Dalung said that the partnership would open up opportunities for exchange of ideas and experiences which is expected to transcend into football and other international relationships.
`The coming of La Liga into Nigerian football is a mark of trust Spain has for Nigeria’s football,’’ Dalung said.
NAN reports that Fernando Sanz, La Liga’s Director for International Projects, Melcior Soler, the Director of Audiovisual Affairs and Antonio Barradas, the La Liga Africa Continent Manager are among the delegation from Spain.