Rivers Utd players protest unpaid signing-on fees

Posted on Dec 20 2017 - 3:46pm by admin

Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

RIVERS United players abandoned training on Tuesday  to gather  at Government House in Port Harcourt  to protest against the refusal of the Rivers State Government to pay them  their 2014/2015 signing-on fees.

Some of the players displayed placards with inscriptions such as  ‘We don’t have pensions, pay us our money’ and ‘Pay us our signing-on fees’.

Sources said the players  decided  to storm Government House after they were told that Governor  Nyesom Wike had given  the state Commissioner for Sports, Mr. Boma Iyayi, money to pay them  but  refused to obey the governor’s directive.

However, our correspondent  learnt that  Iyayi had earlier explained to the players that  though the governor had given  approval for the money, his ministry had yet to receive it.

Sources said  the players did not  believe that the commissioner  told them the truth and  decided to stage  a protest to press their demand.

Our correspondent learnt that the players however apologised to Wike after he confirmed that  the state government  had  yet to release money to the ministry to pay  them their entitlements.

Spokesman for Rivers United, Mr. Sammy Wejinya, told our correspondent in a telephone interview that approval for the payment of the signing-on fees had been made.

Wejinya said, “The money has been approved, but it has not been released. The sports commissioner  explained this to the players, but footballers will always be footballers.

“Maybe they did not believe him. Without seeing anybody in the management, without seeing anybody in the sports ministry, they went to Government House.

“The governor explained to them that money had  been approved, but not released. The governor said the same thing the commissioner told them. The players decided to beg the governor  for  forgiveness.”

On the photographs on social media where the players appeared to be begging the governor, he added, “These are the pictures you saw. They apologised because they knew they should have gone through the appropriate channel.

“The money has been approved, but has not been released and this has been the narrative.”

The Premier League club are owned by the Rivers State Government.

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