NFF Vs BSN Sports: When The Hunter Becomes The Hunted
The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, is in tight corner struggling to defend its case as the federation failed to appear before FCT High Court, Kwali for the second consecutive times.
BSN Sports had in August 2018 published a story titled “U20 World Cup: Allowance Scandal Hit Falconets,” BSN Sports, in the story, quoted some players as well as backroom staff who claimed that one of the major the reasons the team performed below expectations at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in France was that they were not paid their world cup qualification bonus and allowance.
As ethics of the profession demand, BSN Sports called the leader of Nigeria delegation to the championship, Ms Ruth David who claimed that the NFF is not owing neither the players nor the coaches a dime. And her side of the story was also quoted.
To this end, NFF in 2018 hurriedly issued a press statement to corroborate Ruth David’s stand.
Ruth David, in January 2019, dragged BSN Sports to court over what she claimed to be defamation of character.
Meanwhile, it was reported in some national newspapers that the NFF paid a fraction of the 2018 Falconets players’ match bonus on Friday 6th November, 2020.
However, the case took a new turn when Celsus Ukpong (ex-lawyer of the defunct Special Presidential Investigative Panel) stepped in to represent BSN Sports in court. Since his first appearance in court in September, 2020 the NFF and their lawyers who are the Claimants in the matter, were no where to be found after two hearings.
Before the last hearing date, held on Thursday, 12th November, 2020, Publisher of BSN Sports, Niyi Busari received several threatening calls from unnamed unscrupulous elements from the fourth day to the D-day of the cross examination hearing in court. Despite all these, the Defendant, the witnesses as well as the counsel were in court only for the NFF and its lawyers to be absent.
After the hearing last Thursday, the Defendant’s lawyer and the witnesses were moving towards the waiting Jeep that will convey them out of the court premises, suddenly, NFF lawyer appeared from nowhere only to demand for the Defendant lawyer’s phone contact and promised to call him for discussion before the adjourned date.
Known for standing for the truth and never sell his clients out in exchange for love of money, Barrister Celsus Ukpong’s achievements following his record in winning high-profiled cases speaks volume of his tested and unwavering integrity.
It remains to be seen if the NFF will be in court in the next adjourned date as the case is adjourned to 15th December, 2020