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Sports News of Saturday, 11 June 2022


CBN Tennis: Players counter NTF boss over unpaid prize money

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

Thirteen days after the end of the Central Bank of Nigeria Senior Tennis Open Championship in Abuja, a player who took part at the event has revealed that she is yet to be paid her prize money, Saturday PUNCH reports.

This comes after the President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Ifedayo Akindoju, told our correspondent that all the players who featured at the event had been paid.

The PUNCH had on May 31 reported that several players who took part at the 10-day championship at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja were yet to be paid their monies.

Our correspondent learnt some of the players borrowed money to feature at the event but were left stranded in Abuja, with some sleeping inside the National Stadium waiting to be paid.

It was also gathered that several factors, including change of policy, signatories and improper banking documentation on the athletes’ part, caused the delay in payment.

Our correspondent learnt that each player who featured at the event was expected to receive N50,000 as appearance fee at the tournament.

Speaking with Saturday PUNCH, Akindoju said, “All the players who took part at the tournament have all been practically paid. We regret the delay in payment of prize money which has never happened before.”

But Omotayo Blessing, who reached the semi-finals of the women’s doubles event, debunked Akindoju’s claims, insisting she was yet to be paid despite receiving several assurances from the federation’s secretary.

“I have not been paid my money for featuring at the tournament,” Omotayo told only Saturday PUNCH.

“I have called the NTF secretary to ask what has delayed the payment but she keeps assuring me that I will get my entitlement soon.

“I have submitted every bank detail needed but I’m yet to receive my money. I don’t know what to do again.”

Another player, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “This is the first time this is happening. I’ve played in five CBN tournaments and I was paid my due immediately. I don’t know why they paid others and refused to pay some of us.”

A source told our correspondent that the problem arose after the sports ministry took charge of the payment of prize monies to the players, which was usually the function of the federation.

But a media aide to the sports minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the fault was not from the ministry.

“How can ministry pay for CBN sponsored programme,” he said.

“It’s not true. The ministry has never been in charge of that. It is the CBN payment structure for the athletes that caused the delay. The issues are being sorted. All the athletes and officials will get their dues soon. The CBN is the sponsor and they never owe.”

Nonso Madueke clinched the men’s singles title after a stunning comeback 2-1 (2-6, 7-6, 2-0) win over Henry Atseye in the men’s singles final, while No.1 seed Marylove Edwards defeated Oyinlomo Quadri 2-1 (2-6 6-2 6-4) to win the women’s title at the 44th edition of the tourney.