By Solomon Odeniyi
The State Government of Osun has carried out
its plans to disband Osun United and Osun
Babes, by suspending the salaries of players and officials of the football clubs.
OSUN DEFENDER had last week reported that the state government was planning to disband the teams as part of its restructuring efforts, as explained by the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Yemi Lawal.
The plan, which has been generating outrage from sports lovers within and outside the state, came to the fore on Tuesday when the government, through a letter signed by the Acting General Manager, Osun State Sports Council, Mr. Rotimi Dunmoye, said it had stopped the salaries of players of the two teams and their staff members.
Addressed to the Secretary, Osun United FC, the letter, which was sighted by OSUN DEFENDER, directed that payments of salaries should be suspended forthwith as approved by the governor, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola.
Mr. Tajudeen Amodu, the Media officer of the team, confirmed the letter, saying that it was from the Ministry of Youths and Sports, through Osun State Sports Council, which confirmed the suspension of other salaries from where the state football clubs and athletes are being paid.
Amodu said the President of Osun United, Chief Ademola Adesina has urged Governor Oyetola to consider global best practice, which forbids abrupt stoppage of salaries of footballers who are under contractual agreements with a club.
Adesina was also said to have enjoined the Governor to emulate other states in Nigeria which continue to promptly pay salaries of the state-owned teams since the suspension of sporting activities due to the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic.
The former Super Eagles player, who lauded the relentless efforts of the state government on the regular payment of workers’ salaries, appealed to Oyetola to consider the multiplier effects the salary stoppage will have at the period when citizens are finding it difficult to provide means of livelihood due to the challenges of COVID-19.
“Apart from the fact that contracts of our players have not been officially terminated, if salaries are stopped during this period, the living standard of beneficiaries from this medium will nosedive because of the current situation of the country which has been badly affected by COVID-19.
“We therefore appeal to the State Government to look into the matter and lift the suspension on the salaries of Osun United, Osun Babes, their boards as well as contract coaches and athletes in the state”, concluded Chief Adesina.
Speaking with the medium, Osun United Captain, Akeem Olalere appealed to the state government to reconsider its decision, saying that it would have devastating effect on the players.
Olalere said: “The players are unhappy with the decision. It is not what we all were expecting. Our contracts will expire in December, but we can’t go into war with the government.
“We can only appeal to the state government to consider the players. The hardship occasioned by the Coronavirus is already telling on us. We have dependants and if our salaries are not paid, it will worsen issues. Our only source of livelihood is football and now that activities have been banned nation-wide, the development makes it difficult for us to eke out a living for ourselves.