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Pinnick: Why I won’t allow NPFL players join ‘mushroom clubs’ in Europe

Pinnick: Why I won’t allow NPFL players join ‘mushroom clubs’ in Europe
July 27
12:52 2021

Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has explained why the body will not allow the transfer of players in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) to “mushroom clubs” in Europe. 

On July 4, while speaking with home-based Eagles ahead of their friendly game against Mexico, the NFF president had vowed that his administration will do anything possible to frustrate any local player trying to move to unknown clubs in Europe.

“I want to expose you, people, to the highest levels so when you’re going to a foreign club, and we won’t allow any agent take you to countries like Cyprus, Belarus, etc, no never we won’t allow it and I will make sure no transfer is issued on situations like that,” he had said.

“If you’re living in Nigeria, you’re going to a top club. Villarreal, Valencia, Lille, and all those pride footballing clubs and not to one mushroom club that you’re better off.”

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The comments had attracted negative reactions from football figures in the country.

But in a chat with Arise TV on Tuesday, Pinnick maintained his stance on the topic despite the criticism.

He added that the decision is informed by the exploitation of Nigerian players by “greedy” agents and also the potential cruelty that they may suffer abroad.

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“I don’t have any regret saying what I said. I didn’t say going to Europe — Real Madrid is in Europe, same as Arsenal, Barcelona, PSG, Villareal, Lille, etc. What I said is that our players shouldn’t just wake up playing in the league here, and an agent comes to them. The agents who are only interested in their 20-25% and the subsequent transfer fees and ship players to Belarus and different countries,” the NFF president said.

“Till tomorrow, we are still trying to grapple with a Nigerian that was killed in Belarus. A Nigerian player. They didn’t write to you; they wrote to the NFF. We didn’t know how the boy got there.

“So if we have our ways, we will always advise them. Even in China, one of our key players — he has played for the national team and some of the top teams in Europe — but today he cannot play football again because of what they did to him in China. Do you think we are excited about that? Do you know what we see? You don’t see what we see.

“But I can assure you that whatever we are doing is to protect the integrity of this country and to make our players know that it might not be rosy today, but tomorrow it will be.

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“We’ve seen things that you don’t see. A player will just wake up and say he’s going to India, Vietnam and the next thing you’ll hear is that ‘this player is being thrown out, this player sleeps under the bridge.'”

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