Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi said on Friday in Lagos that efforts were still on to ensure that Nigerians watched the live telecast of matches of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The tournament has been scheduled to begin on Jan. 19 in Johannesburg.
Abdullahi, also Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), made the promise at a Media Round Table with the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) in Lagos.
He said it was unfortunate that the country had found itself in such a difficult situation.
He wondered why those that are saddled with negotiation acquiring the Broadcast Righs acted late in opening the negotiation late. “They ought to have acted much earlier’’.
“Why this is just coming up now two days or so to the Africa Cup of Nations?It’s unfortunate that we have found ourselves in this
situation but I must say also that it is more a matter for the Ministry of Information than to the Ministry of Sports.
“But we’ve tried to assist, got NFF to even write a letter to them and I got a preview yesterday (Thursday) but I’m still optimistic that something would happen because negotiation still continues.
“But that’s the situation, we shouldn’t find ourselves in this situation in the first place and that if we envisage this crisis, the people who have responsibility to ensure that Nigerians watch the competition ought to have risen long before now.’
He said he had heard about the broadcast rights tussle from the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, while he was away in Faro, Portugal to monitor the Super Eagles preparations.
“The Honourable Minister of Information was actually the first person that mentioned it to me that there are issues about broadcast rights but wanted me to speak with CAF.
“I spoke with some of my contacts in CAF and they said, look, CAF has no issues with it, they’ve sold the rights to LC2 and that LC2 has the right to do whatever the like with the license they’ve got.”
He added that he made several efforts to resolve the issue with the Africa Football Confederation (CAF) but was informed the right had been sold to LC2. (NAN)