Will Nigeria’s football clubs list on the stock exchange?

An analyst told Business Day that Nigeria Premier League football clubs would have to completely change their structure and management before they can list on the country’s stock exchange. Going public could help clubs raise “much needed funds”.

The debate comes as Ghanaian club Accra Hearts of Oak recently received permission to list on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

According to Ghanasoccernet.com, E. M. Commodore-Mensah, board chairman of Hearts, said in a statement that “the flotation, which is said to be probably the first of its kind in Africa, has huge prospects of restoring financial stability to the club to enable it to invest in recruitment of top players and modern sports infrastructure.”

Emeka Madubuike, a stock broker at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, told Business Day that although the possibility of listing on the exchange should not be dismissed, a number of issues need to be sorted before Nigerian clubs can even contemplate going public.

He mentioned that clubs should have three years’ audited accounts, projections of future financials, as well as a structured board and management.

“A club like Rangers, with such a huge following, should be able to do that, but they will have to be properly structured and professionally managed. But going by the way the clubs are run at present, I doubt if it is realistic,” Madubuike was quoted saying.

Kenneth Boardman, a member of the board of Enugu-based Rangers International, one of Nigeria’s most famous clubs, told the newspaper that Nigerian clubs first need to have marketable products. He said the poor management of Nigerian clubs and the league management body itself currently does not inspire investor confidence.