Rivers United FC players abandoned training on Tuesday to stage a peaceful protest at the Government House in Port Harcourt over the non-payment of their sign on fees for the 2014/2015 season.
The some of the players carried placard with various inscriptions asking the government to pay up the outstanding monies owed them. Some of the placards read: ‘We don’t have pension. Pay us our money’, ‘Give us what we worked for.’
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Woke, later met the protesting players.
Although a source hinted that the governor approved the payment of the sign-on fee six months ago, the players concerned expressed worries over the delay in the payment of the money.
“I see no reason why they have not paid us when the governor has ordered them to do so. We want answers and keeping quiet will not resolve the issue for us,” revealed one of the players.
Spokesman of the team, Sammy Wejinya, however said that no player of Rivers United has ever been owed salaries.
“No player of Rivers United has ever been owed salaries. These were monies owed in 2014, to players of Sharks and Dolphins FCs, by the previous administration,” observed Wejinya.
Rivers United barely escaped relegation in the 15th position last season after they finished runners-up the previous term.
Another club owned by a state government is on the verge of taking to the stress to protest poor funding.
Sunshine Stars of Akure who escaped relegation on the last day of the 2016/17 Premier League season, is facing a severe financial crisis.
Sunshine is owing its players salaries, forcing some of them to dump the side for other clubs.
The NPFL new season is scheduled to kick off on January 14 but Sunshine, who will travel to Owerri to take on Heartland, is allegedly unsure about honouring the encounter as the team’s financial crisis worsens.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu was reported recently to have ordered the Ministry of Sports and Youths Development and the Ondo State Football Agency to seek ways of funding the club outside the government.
Frank Jumbo with Agency Report