The Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Yemi Lawal has said that irregularities discovered in the sports sector necessitated the ongoing restructuring of the sector in the State of Osun.
Lawal, while speaking in an interview explained that the current process is not to witch-hunt anybody or deprive anyone of his/her legitimate right but to further sanitize the sector for greater results.
The Commissioner said contrary to insinuations, the government decided to stop the salaries of players, coaches and athletes in a bid to look at the issues of ownership among others with a view to resolving them for the uplift of the sector.
Lawal added that the government is committed to giving grassroots sports the needed impetus to grow as well as tapping into the rich potentials of the state while breeding talents to make them useful for the state.
His words “The government has discovered a lot of irregularities in the management of the clubs, and has decided to overhaul the system. Having discovered that there have been a lot of sharp practices (part of which was indiscriminate changing of names and figures on payment schedule for the clubs), we decided to stop the entire process to see how we can restructure and bounce back better.”
“In the course of doing this, we went as far as checking with the Corporate Affairs Commissions for the registration details of the clubs and discovered that Osun United was never registered in the name of the State Government; rather it was registered in the name of four individuals who have made Osun government sponsor a team that does not belong to it.”
“We have tried to contact these four individuals but have been unable to get through to them. We are trying to work out how we can transfer the ownership of the club to the State. Untiil that is done, we cannot do anything with Osun United”, Lawal stated.
The Commissioner for Youths and Sports stated that the State Government under the leadership of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola did not owe any of the athletes and contract coaches salaries prior to the commencement of the restructuring.
Lawal also assured stakeholders that the real athletes who should derive benefits from the State Government will not be made to suffer. Rather, the government will ensure that the real athletes are reintegrated after proper identification, while those who should not be in the system will be expunged.
He continued: “We are definitely going to own football teams, especially to have a platform for the projection of own homegrown talents. We might even end up taking over Osun United, but we are currently restructuring, and as soon as we are done with the process, the world we see the outcome of this rigorous process”.
“One of the focus of the government is to engage the people at the grassroots. We want to take sports to every corner of the State, we want to identify talents, nurture them, make them profitable and useful, and make them international.”
Lawal explained that the government was planning the appointment of at least one sports organizer in each local government area, who wiould identify the sporting activities available in each local government area and recommend the talents discovered at the grassroots for adoption as the state’s performing athletes.