Press Release - Re: Lagos State High Court Interlocutory Order

In response to the numerous enquiries it has received over the last 48 hours, League Management Company Limited (LMC) wishes to reassure the football fraternity in Nigeria, its corporate sponsors and the Nigerian public that there has not been any judicial pronouncement, order or decision that restrains, impedes or jeopardises the operations of LMC and the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

LMC is aware of the several orchestrated misleading reports carried in the media about an interlocutory ruling given in a suit pending before the High Court of Lagos State.  The general public should be informed that these reports do not represent the accurate state of affairs as pertaining to the suit.  The suit is still pending and the hearing of the main case is even yet to commence. No final order or judgement has been delivered in the case.

The correct position with the interlocutory order granted by the court which has been variously misrepresented in the media reports on same so far, is that the trial court ordered that LMC should not interfere with the contract between Total Promotions Ltd and the 1st defendant in the case, (the Nigeria Football League Ltd [NFLL]), which body was recently declared illegal by Hon. Justice D. U. Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in a judgment delivered on 20th January 2012, and ordered to be mandatorily wound up by the Corporate Affairs Commission for failure to comply with the law governing the registration of companies in Nigeria in its formation and composition.

Of course, the position maintained by the LMC is that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the alleged contract between Total Promotions Ltd and NFLL and will never have anything to do with NFLL which has been declared an illegal body by the court. The other point made in the ruling is that the LMC should not interfere with a contract, which contract if it existed, was never produced before the court by Total Promotions Ltd and the terms of which are unknown to LMC.
In order to prevent the kind of misrepresentation  now being peddled about in the media regarding the ruling, LMC, in exercise of its constitutional right, has at 3rd  July, 2014 filed an appeal against the interlocutory ruling of the High Court, in question.  

The Notice of Appeal filed by LMC is based on several grounds including that; the Learned Judge presiding over the case gave an order in respect of a contract that was never produced in evidence before the Court (even when LMC’s Lawyers pointed out repeatedly to the court that the alleged contract was not before the court) and has thereby disabled herself from hearing the main case by unfairly prejudging the merits of the case at the interlocutory stage.

In addition, it is important, having regards to these developments, that the public is informed that a different Judge of the same High Court of Lagos State had earlier this year given judgment for LMC and ruled that LMC is distinct and separate from NFLL and as such contracts between NFLL and third parties cannot be imposed on LMC. In the face of this ruling which has clarified the status of LMC, the case by TPL is nothing more than an elaborate ruse to impose on LMC the contracts which TPL had entered into with a body we now know should not have been carrying on business in the first place, NFLL. The ruling fortifying the position of LMC was delivered on 21st January, 2014 in Suit No. M/145/12: Emmanuel Oboh & Anor. vs. Nigeria Football League Limited and League Management Company Ltd and First Bank of Nigeria Ltd.

Accordingly, LMC calls on all true stakeholders of football in Nigeria to disregard these mischievous news reports about this present suit. They are nothing but a deliberate ploy to misinform and create hysteria in the minds of the public about the NPFL.  LMC is unflagging in its determination to vigorously defend this suit, which it is convinced is frivolous and without basis whatsoever.

Finally, LMC restates its commitment to an enduring reform and transformation of the elite professional football league in Nigeria to the benefit of the players, Clubs, corporate sponsors and the true owners of the league, the football-loving millions of our fellow Nigerian citizens.

Signed:  Management

NPFL Clubs