Sport lawyers and practitioners have declared that sports law and its associated businesses are unexploited money-spinner in Nigeria.
They came to this conclusion at the 2022 Sports Business and Development Summit hosted by Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL) in Lagos last week with the theme "Let's Develop the Game".
According to the chief host, Beverly Agbakoba-Onyejianya, following the prevailing climate and rapid changes underway in the sport industry worldwide, there is an urgent need to harness the full potential in sports, which is currently lying dormant.
Sport, she said, is a billion-dollar industry globally but the opportunities remain untapped in Nigeria. Speaking at the pre-summit cocktail, the lawyer said: "The event is targeted at sports lawyers, commercial sports business people, sports bodies and regulators.
"The objective of the two-day virtual summit is to connect international and national stakeholders in the sports industry.
"Fundamentally, counsels act as the backbone. They support all the commercial transactions in sports industry right from picking players, immigrations and building of infrastructure.
"We have seen the building of more and more stadia and construction of pitches in many communities. Those require signing of contracts. The contracts would guide the terms of the agreements between parties. So, lawyers have a lot to do. We need to stop seeing sports as just people playing football. It covers training, awareness, sports medicines, manufacturing of sports kits."
"So, we need lawyers to guide those contractual activities. Without lawyers, there will be no one to resolve disputes that would arise. Permit me to say that I was appointed by FIFA as a mediator with their football tribunal. So, sport is expansive," she said, adding that lack of visibility is the bane of sports benefits in Nigeria.
The Project Lead, Pulse Sports, James Torvaney said stakeholders must find a way to commercialise sports in Nigeria.
"We need to create proper sustainable businesses out of sport, which I think is very important because without the commercialization, it is going to be difficult for anybody in sport business to make a living. Although it is growing, it is in its infancy," he said.
He stated that there is potentially huge market for sport business in Nigeria, which is untapped. According to him, sport business has the potential to equal the progress in entertainment and movie industries in the next 10 years.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Afa sports, Ugo Udezue said creating sufficient awareness is very good for the ecosystem of the sport.
According to him, the business aspect of sport has been neglected over the years and therefore needs encouragement to be propagated.
"It is important for people to connect. I am actually glad that I came. I have met a lot of individuals that I believe we are going to have some partnerships that would make us grow together.
"Sport business will grow, it is a process. My firm is into sport apparel business and we make all our products in Nigeria. We are creating value into the system. Sports business is only about playing football," he explained.
The summit had series of panels and workshops, which aimed at educating, enlightening and stimulating discussions towards creating a new direction in sports business and development.
According to the organisers, the summit will be once in a year to help push the conversations around the sports business further, stimulating the industry and more.
SOURCE: The Vanguard
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