The Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, on Monday said Rivers United Football Club management had taken care of all outstanding liabilities regarding Samuel Akurugu, one of the club’s former players.
Iyaye disclosed this in Port Harcourt during a courtesy visit on him by the Chairman of the state’s Ikwerre Local Government Area, Samuel Nwanosike.
The club’s indebtedness to the player had prompted a three-window transfer ban by the world football governing body, Federation of International Football Association.
Iyaye stated the club’s management no longer owed the player any money, adding that with the payment, Rivers United would not serve any ban.
He said: “FIFA had stated that the sanction would be lifted immediately, and prior to its complete serving, once the due amount, plus interest is paid.
“With this clause in the letter from FIFA, it is our hope that the sanction would be lifted immediately as the club prepare for the upcoming continental and domestic football calendar.”
The Sports Commissioner informed the council chairman that the Rivers State Government was repositioning grassroots sports development.
He said: “This explains the willingness of the Sports Ministry to partner with stakeholders and local governments to unearth talents, which will represent the state at all levels of sports competitions.”
Iyaye also stated that Rivers State would have organised the state sports festival aimed at discovering talents at the grassroots if COVID-19 had not posed a challenge.
“But one thing is sure, we are still going to organise the festival,” he said.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Sports commended Nwanosike for seeking partnership with the ministry.
He pointed out that it was the first time a LGA chairman was embarking on such engagement to optimise the energies of youth at the grassroots.
“We shall give you support and expertise and treat your local government as a pilot in our avowed commitment to positioning sports at the grassroots,” Iyaye added.
Earlier at the occasion, Nwanosike had unveiled his plan for sports development, pointing out that sports represent a major platform to engage youths and utilise them for a profitable venture.
The LG chairman added that his administration was already constructing facilities for football, swimming, wrestling, table tennis, basketball, cycling, among others.
“This is the reason for the visit and the essence of of request from the ministry for technical and professional assistance,” he said.
Nwanosike disclosed that plans were in the pipeline to construct a sports academy in the LGA.
He called for contributions from the ministry in the area of technical advisory and expertise in sports management.