Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare has warned athletes to desist from acts capable of dragging the image of Nigeria in the mud.
Dare gave this warning at the meeting with sports federations secretaries at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
The warning may not be unconnected with the indictment of some track and field athletes in the USA for committing email and wire fraud.
Dare says government will have zero tolerance for anything untoward among athletes and assured that a disclaimer will immediately be issued on any athlete found wanting.
The Minister therefore called on them to refrain from any practice capable of denting the image of the nation.
Meanwhile Dare has informed the Secretaries that with the recent approval of the Sports Industry Policy by the Federal Executive Council, the funding and control of sports development will be handled by both the private and public sectors.
“Henceforth, the funding and control of sports development going forward will be 50-50 between the private sector and government”, he said
Dare explained that the new policy will thrive on 3 ‘i’s, infrastructure, incentives and investment. To this end, he added, “football, basketball, table tennis, hockey and all other games will no longer be for recreation alone, but for business as well as recreation”.
The Minister who noted that no industry can thrive without investment, stated further that through this policy, a lot of investments can be attracted into the sports sector which will not only contribute to the socio-economic development of the country but also create an opportunity for our teeming youth to showcase their sporting talents as well as compete favourably with their counterparts globally.
Dare expressed optimism that the policy will open up access to grants for athletes, stressing that already, an independent athletes welfare fund has been set up which will be ceded by the government to cater for athletes’ wellbeing.