The athletes who participated in the third Golden League in Abuja on Friday and Saturday are unhappy with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria over the failure of the AFN to pay them their transport and accommodation allowances.
Our correspondent learnt that some of the athletes had to borrow money to return home after the competition on Saturday as the federation could not fulfil its promise to pay them on arrival in Abuja for the event.
It was learnt that the athletes had to take care of their accommodation and feeding, hoping to be paid on Saturday as promised by the federation.
It was also learnt that when the athletes demanded their allowances from the AFN technical director Sunday Adeleye, he directed them to the Golden League Committee Chairman Brown Ebewele, who also said the committee was not in possession of the money to pay the athletes.
One of the athletes, who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, claimed some of them were forced to travel overnight to their destinations after the competition to reduce the transportation fares.
He said, “The event was supposed to hold in Ibadan but we were informed on Thursday that the venue had been changed. Many of the athletes who were supposed to attend could not because of the change of venue.
“But some of us still made our way to Abuja for the competition. On Saturday, we were expecting to receive the transport subsidy to return home. But when we contacted the technical director, he said we should meet with the committee chairman who said he didn’t know anything about our payment.”
Another source said, “Many of us were left stranded. Some travelled by buses at night because they lacked enough money.”
Adeleye, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone on Monday, confirmed that the federation had yet to pay the athletes.
He said, “It is true that the athletes were not paid their transport allowances for the Abuja Golden League but the fault was not from the federation. The Golden League committee is responsible for paying them.
“The committee was set up because the president and I have been criticised for not carry the other members along. The committee is expected to look for funds to organise the events. The competitions held so far this year have been organised from the personal pockets of the president because the AFN has not received any allowances from the sports ministry.
“Before this event in Abuja, athletes were paid what they were promised for transportation but since the committee was set up for that purpose, the federation expected that they would do their duties.”
Ebewele told our correspondent on the telephone on Monday that paying of the athletes was not the business of the Golden League committee.
He said, “The committee was charged with organising the Golden Leagues not the payment of athletes. The federation invited the athletes and should find means to pay them.
“Every competition has a sponsor and in the absence of one, the federation takes charge of the responsibility of paying the athletes.”
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