$2.7m Kits: PUMA To Sue Nigeria For Breach Of Contract

The PUNCH has learned that German sportswear manufacturer PUMA would sue the Nigerian Athletics Federation and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.

In a letter dated Wednesday, August 4, 2021, and signed by the company’s director Manuel Edlheimb, the sportswear manufacturer terminated the four-year deal.

The AFN, led by Ibrahim Gusau, reportedly struck a contentious $2.76 million contract with Puma on July 24, 2019, in Doha, according to the PUNCH.

The agreement sparked a huge issue, dividing the athletics organization into two parts, with both Gusau and Adeleye accused of excluding other board members during the signing process.

The agreement, which was signed by Gusau’s AFN, was set to expire in 2022.

Under the terms of the agreement, PUMA will provide Nigeria’s Athletics team with free gear for all age groups for the next four years.

Additionally, gold medalists at the Olympic Games will receive $15,000, silver medalists will receive 5,000, and bronze medalists will receive $3,000 for wearing PUMA attire at the games.

The PUNCH has learned that PUMA officials have contacted AFN officials led by Gusau, advising them of their plan to suit.

According to a source, the sports ministry would be named as a defendant in the lawsuit “since they issued a document allowing AFN to seek sponsorship.” With that communication, PUMA sees AFN as a spokesperson of Nigeria. It reassured them that AFN had received approval. They further maintained that the parties involved were recognized by law and the FG at the time the contract was signed, and that there was no faction to cause suspicion. They assume that an administration is permanent, and that the agreement is backed by the government..”

Sunday Adeleye, the AFN’s First Vice President, verified this while appearing as a guest on Arise TV on Thursday.

While displaying evidence and documents showing the FG’s approval for the federation to seek a sponsor, Adeleye said, “The contract is a non-disclosure one. It is between PUMA and AFN with FMYSD’s permission. We warned that this may lead to litigation and wrote to all parties involved, including finance and justice ministries.

“We are sure that PUMA will go to court on this matter. Their officials have called that they are sending documents from their legal department. We wrote the minister on the implications for Nigeria. This won’t make other companies deal with Nigeria.”

He also argued that Gusau-led AFN did everything possible to ensure that the image of the country is protected.

On why the kits were kept in a store, he said, “Our AFN has been barred from using facility in the stadium and we needed to run the activities of the association. We have a store and office that we run. The constitution didn’t say our office should be in the stadium.”

Asked he would take responsibility for the termination of the contract, Adeleye said, “We should be awarded because we are patriotic. FG asked federations to look for sponsors (before Sunday Dare). This contract precedes him. They are aware of the contract.

“We worked with instruction. We looked for a sponsor so that the burden can be taken off the Federal Government. The sports ministry should be sanctioned. We need a shake-up in the sports ministry.

“The problem is the minister and sports ministry under his administration. Our problems have never been this worse. Federations have issues but not to this extend. Despite a court order, the minister is resolute in destroying some people. We gave the kits out, the ministry said they were not going to use the kits.”

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