Title rights: IMC denies TPL move for peaceful resolution

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Chairman of the Interim Management Committee of the Nigeria Professional Football League, Gbenga Elegbeleye, says the body isn’t aware of any proposed commercial dispute resolution meeting with Total Promotions Limited over the title and broadcast rights of the Nigerian league, The PUNCH reports.

In a notice dated February 17, 2023, solicitors of Total Promotions Limited had written to the IMC chairman and also copied the Minister for Youth and Sports Development, GTI Group and SuperSports International, informing them of a window to resolve the lingering title rights issues which had been severally breached by different organisers of the league.

Total Promotions in the letter referred to the trajectory of contractual relationships with the different organisers of the league and urged the IMC to treat the contracts as assets and liabilities of the league organisers.

The notice added that they were aware of the IMC’s move to re-award the TV rights to GTI Group and SuperSports.

“It is important to note that while there may be a succession of managers or operators of the Nigeria Premier League/Nigeria Football League/Nigeria Professional Football League, contracts and liabilities made or incurred by previous managers or operators of the same league cannot be disregarded or wished away,” the letter read in part.

Total Promotions, however, urged the IMC to avoid further collision with the law over the rights and also proposed a meeting to settle the differences.

“We have heard your rumoured move to ignore the court order and ongoing litigation, including our client’s entitlements under the contracts and proceed to re-award the television broadcast rights to SuperSports and GTl Group. It would be wrong for you to try it.

“Our client is willing and hereby proposes a meeting of parties for amicable resolution of this matter so that the league may come alive again. A window of opportunity for settlement of the commercial dispute has now been opened for you to consider.”

When asked about the IMC’s feelings about the development, Elegbeleye simply said, “I am not aware.”

General Manager, SuperSport, Felix Awogu, also reiterated that the company doesn’t have the TV rights of the NPFL.

“We don’t have the right or commercial dispute to resolve. The letter was also sent to our office in South Africa and there is no move to follow up any of the things in the letter,” Awogu told The PUNCH.

The PUNCH had reported that Total Promotions, before the start of the 2023 season had warned the IMC and Nigerian Television Authority of the legal implications of broadcasting the league, while it still had the title and broadcast rights.

The NPFL, however, began in January with selected matches live on NTA and also streamed via The Nigeria Football Fund YouTube Channel before the league went on a mid-season break in February.

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