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JUST IN; Nigeria Lands In Serious Trouble As PUMA Set To Sue The Nation For Breach Of Contract After Terminating N1bn Deal

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German sportswear manufacturing giant, PUMA plans to sue the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, after terminating the four-year contract it had with Nigeria.

The sportswear manufacturer in a letter dated Wednesday, August 4, 2021, and signed by the company’s director Manuel Edlheimb, had terminated the contract.

The contract termination comes a few hours after a trending video showed Nigeria’s shot put medal hopeful, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, washing his jersey ahead of his final game at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The AFN under the leadership of Ibrahim Gusau had entered into a controversial $2.76m deal with Puma on July 24, 2019, in Doha, Qatar.

The deal led to a major crisis that split the athletics body into two factions, with both Gusau and Adeleye accused of sidelining other members of the board during the signing of the deal, Punch reports.

The deal, signed by Gusau-led AFN, was due to expire in 2022.

Part of the contract is that PUMA will supply apparel to all age categories to Nigeria’s Athletics team for four years at no cost.

In addition, gold medalists at the Olympic Games will earn $15,000, silver medalists will get 5,000 while a bronze medal will fetch athletes wearing the PUMA apparel at the games for $3,000.

PUMA said Nigeria breached provisions of the contract by not wearing the kits at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

This, the sportswear manufacturer said is against clauses 9.2 and 7.3 of the Agreement.

According to reports, PUMA officials have got in touch with officials of Gusau-led AFN informing them of an intention to sue.

A source said that the sports ministry would be made a party to the suit “because they issued a memo granting AFN permission to seek sponsorship. PUMA sees AFN as a representative of Nigeria with that memo. It gave them confidence that AFN had approval. They also claimed that as of the time of signing the contract, the parties involved are recognised by law and FG, and there was no faction to warrant suspicion. They believe an administration is a continuum and the agreement has government backing…”

The AFN First Vice President, Sunday Adeleye, confirmed this while appearing on Arise TV as a guest on Thursday.

While displaying evidence and documents showing the FG’s approval for the federation to seek a sponsor, Adeleye said, “The contract is a non-disclosure one. It is between PUMA and AFN with FMYSD’s permission. We warned that this may lead to litigation and wrote to all parties involved, including finance and justice ministries.

“We are sure that PUMA will go to court on this matter. Their officials have called that they are sending documents from their legal department. We wrote the minister on the implications for Nigeria. This won’t make other companies deal with Nigeria.”

He also argued that Gusau-led AFN did everything possible to ensure that the image of the country is protected.×250&!3&btvi=2&fsb=1&xpc=p7e9zyMumT&p=https%3A//

On why the kits were kept in a store, he said, “Our AFN has been barred from using the facility in the stadium and we needed to run the activities of the association. We have a store and office that we run. The constitution didn’t say our office should be in the stadium.”

Asked he would take responsibility for the termination of the contract, Adeleye said, “We should be awarded because we are patriotic. FG asked federations to look for sponsors (before Sunday Dare). This contract precedes him. They are aware of the contract.

“We worked with instruction. We looked for a sponsor so that the burden can be taken off the Federal Government. The sports ministry should be sanctioned. We need a shake-up in the sports ministry.

“The problem is the minister and sports ministry under his administration. Our problems have never been this worse. Federations have issues but not to this extend. Despite a court order, the minister is resolute in destroying some people. We gave the kits out; the ministry said they were not going to use the kits.”

The caption in the video indicated that the athlete was given one jersey for the competition.

“When you made the Olympic Finals, but you only have one jersey,” he wrote.

It had earlier been reported how eyebrows were raised following different attire worn by members of Team Nigeria contingent in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Several videos and pictures showed many officials were wearing different attire and sportswear brands.

Contingents from other countries – including South Africa – who arrived in Japan at the same time as Nigeria were however uniformly kitted.

A picture shared by the team after the visit of the Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Abubakar Moriki, to the team’s camp, showed many of the athletes and officials in different attire, with one of the officials in the picture wearing an Arsenal jersey.

Many other videos shared by Nigerian athletes in Japan also showed them in different sportswear like Nike and Adidas.

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