Peter Dada, Akure
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has ordered the Ministry of Sports and Youths Development and the Ondo State Football Agency to seek ways outside the government to fund Premier League club Sunshine Stars, our correspondent has learnt.
The Akure outfit, who escaped relegation on the last day of the 2016/17 Premier League season, are facing a severe financial crisis.
Sunshine are reportedly owing their players salaries, forcing some of them to dump the side for other clubs.
The Premier League kicks off on January 14 but Sunshine, who will travel to Owerri to take on Heartland, are allegedly unsure about honouring the encounter as the team’s financial crisis worsens.
It was learnt that the Ondo State Government, who owns the club, has not given Sunshine enough money for preparations ahead of the upcoming season.
A source close to the Club told our correspondent that the governor had informed the management of the club through the sports ministry that the state government would no longer fund Sunshine 100 per cent.
The source said Akeredolu had directed the sports ministry to find other sources of funding the team.
The source said, “The state is having financial problems and the development has affected Sunshine Stars too. But the governor has ordered the ministry of sports to find ways to raise money to run the team.
“The governor has made his declaration and the rest is now left for the ministry to generate money for the team.”
Commissioner for Sports and Youths Development, Mr. Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye, confirmed the development.
He said, “It is very clear that the funding of sports is about government, individual donors and international agencies contributing. The last Federation Cup competition was sponsored by AITEO, it was not government.
“All over the world government partners individuals and international agencies to sponsor sports. What the Ondo State Government is doing is in line with sports rules.
“If the Federal Government should partner a company to sponsor the FA Cup, then how can we not partner individual organisations?”
However, Yusuf-Ogunleye said Sunshine had been preparing ahead of the league season, adding that the team’s target was to win the competition
The commissioner said, “We are prepared, and the team is ready. After the Christmas break, we will begin camping. Some players have gone and new ones have come, we are trying to do our best for the team.”
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]