Contract Breach: NEXT TV Reports LMC To UK, FBI, Seek N7 Billion Damages
By Our Correspondent
Next Digital Broadcasting Limited has demanded for seven billion damages from the League Management Company (LMC) for alleged breach of agreement in respect of the commercial rights of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
In a letter dated September 30, 2020, from their lawyers, Rickey Trafa and Co, Next TV alleged several breaches by LMC in an agreement it entered with the NPFL organisers.
Among these breaches, Next TV alleged that LMC announced it had given Redstrike the same commercial rights it had agreed to transfer to Next TV.
“By your wanton breach of the agreement between yourselves (LMC) and our client, you have not only caused a reversal of the gains the country has made in the recent past in relation to the development of our football league and industry, you have also caused our clients enormous damages and almost unquantifiable losses with respect to funds committed to infrastructure, hardware and software, human capital and deposits (mostly non-refundable) paid towards the performance of their obligations in the said agreement, not to talk of expected profit all of which in total amount to the equivalent of N7,000,000,000 (seven billion Naira),” part of the letter from the lawyers reads.
The lawyers said if within seven days of the receipt of this notice, the damages were not paid, Next TV will head to court to seek redress.
The players union headed by Harrison Jalla has previously published a series on this saga.
The union has since taken the case to the Serious Fraud Office in the UK as well as the FBI.
In November 2019, NEXT Digital TV and 9mobile signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the production of Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) matches with the LMC in Abuja.
The agreement was signed and sealed when Chairman of NEXT Digital TV, Prince Malik Ibrahim and Ag Director of Marketing, 9Mobile, Layi Orafowokan joined forces through the MOU in the presence of the LMC and prospective partners, First Bank, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and Wema Bank.
Speaking at the briefing LMC Chairman, Mallam Shehu Dikko, explained the partnership as a strategic move in line with international best practice to help in growing the NPFL matches.
According to him, we are working tirelessly to ensure the best NPFL and with this partnership which was approved by the 20 NPFL club owners will change the narrative of Nigeria through a quality football and our priority is to take Nigerian league to the next level.
“What we are doing is something that is new, unique and has not been done before in this country, but it is what is been done everywhere across the globe to develop football”.
While Outlined the LMC, NPFL, NEXT Digital TV partnership that stand on Four pillars which include; Investment into NPFL Operations; Production of NPFL matches ; Sales of the NPFL content produced to ensure its broadcast across all platforms including the primary the Next TV OTT platform and commercialization of NPFL rights to generate enough revenues into the system with NPFL earnings hugely optimized.
“This will indeed allow free-flow of investment into the NPFL with a five-year projection of $200m.
“It’s only Nigerians that can develop Nigeria and we have to work with the best partners, delivery system and learn what is done in developed clime so that we can domestic it here”.
“The first pillar which is the most important is that we will invest in the NPFL and that will ensure that football will keep running and operating in a professional way”.
“The second pillar is that we will produce NPFL matches through the investment of NEXT TV, technical expertise and support. All over the world, league football is driving by production, which means if you don’t produce your content, you will not earn money. The reason why all global leagues are dominating our network is that somebody is producing those matches and put them on the plane for all networks to buy.
“The forecast of the five years’ agreement is $200m and it is a projection that is available with the guarantee that money will come into the league every year and everybody will be carried along,” Dikko stated.
He commended the Minister of sports, Sunday Dare, for supporting the initiative and insisted that the right things are done to move NPFL to the next level.