The Nigeria Football Federation officials are set to implement a code of conduct for the Super Eagles and other national teams after receiving the document prepared by the Ministry of Sports. It is hoped that the written rules will prevent future rows between the players and the NFF over bonus payments and as well address outbursts of players on various social media network.
The five-part document obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday gives in details the obligations of national players, their coaches and the NFF. It is stated that non-compliance could lead to fines, suspensions or even expulsions.
Sports minister Bolaji Abdullahi forwarded the code of conduct, drafted by the National Sports Commission, for implementation by the NFF.
A special assistant to the minister, Mr. Julius Ogunro, who spoke with The PUNCH on Tuesday, confirmed the delivery of the document to the NFF.
He said, “The code of conduct will hopefully bring an end to ugly incidents of match bonus fights. Such rows portray the country in very bad light and so the minister had no choice but produce something that will provide a permanent solution to such incidents.
“The code of conduct issue was deliberately kept aside to enable everyone focus on the World Cup race following the embarrassment in Namibia this year. The next step is for the Nigeria Football Federation to ratify and begin implementation.”
No specific date was given for the start of implementation but it is hoped that it would have been adopted before the next Eagles match with the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil serving as the first major test.
The section on bonus reads, “Payment structure for allowances and bonuses as well as flights and accommodation entitlement shall be determined by the NFF at the beginning of every year of engagement in consideration of the competitions/tournaments at hand and the financial standing of the federation. All prospective players in the national teams shall be informed of this payment structure and entitlements accordingly. It must be noted that once these are agreed at the beginning of the year, they should not be subjected to negotiation or review until the beginning of another year.”
Nigeria officials say this is designed to avoid the kind of dispute the NFF and players had in Namibia just before the start of the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil. The strike embarked by the Eagles almost caused the country participation in the FIFA tournament with the team arriving very late.
The document also spells out players conduct via the social media network such as Twitter and Facebook. National team players have, in recent years, used such avenues to address personal disagreements with their coaches in manners regarded as being uncultured.
The section on media states, “Not publish, or cause to be published (including on Twitter and Facebook), anything that may cause offence or embarrass any member of The NFF, national squads or management. If any player wishes to publicly comment on any aspect of playing for Nigeria, including in books, newspaper columns, podcasts, vodcasts, diaries and any other online media services, including social networking sites, prior permission of the NFF Media Office is required.
“No Twitter or Facebook comments the day before and day of matches, unless authorised by the Head Coach and the Team Media Officer; no Twitter or social media disclosing team or injuries the day before or on the day of the match; any comment in the media that is likely to cause embarrassment to or lower the reputation and integrity of the team, team management, the federation or the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is prohibited; and players should desist from making any comments that could be political in nature.”
National team players have also been asked not to carry out personal endorsements when representing Nigeria in international assignments.
The issue of gratification was not left out as the players have been warned against any form of inducement for officials. The officials were similarly warned. Earlier in the year, there were allegations in the Eagles of players being coerced to buy wristwatches from one of the officials as a way of retaining their spots in the team.
“(Players should) not discuss or offer gifts, gratification or unusual favours to any member of the technical team, team management or the NFF; report any request for gifts, gratification or unusual favours from any member of the technical team, team management or the NFF,” the players were told.