The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has declared that Federal Government will embrace Public Private Partnership (PPP) to transform the sports sector in the country.
He made the disclosure on Sunday while speaking with journalists after inspecting facilities at Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan.
The Minister was taken around the facilities at the stadium by the Zonal Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, Mr Femi Ajao.
It could be recalled that Dare had visited some other stadia across the country.
He said he placed premium on some of them that are national monuments.
Among those listed on the premium list are Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna; National Stadium, Lagos; the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja and Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan.
The minister, who said that efforts of management and maintenance of the facilities in the past few years were not sufficient enough, promised that the facilities would engage his attention in terms of upgrade, maintenance and management.
According to him, “I am really impressed that we have such a structure built over 64 years ago. It is still standing, but it has suffered years of neglect and lack of maintenance.
“We have seen here that efforts has been made in the past few years, but we have seen that efforts of upgrading, maintenance and management has not been sufficient enough.
“I have seen the indoor sports hall, main bowl, swimming pool and training pitches. I have seen that we need to inject some fund and bring this place back to work. We are going to work on our new public private partnership model,” he said.
Dare maintained that there are plans underway in bringing activities back to the stadia, noting that the ministry’s first assignment was to ensure the right facilities are in place.
He listed adopt-a-pitch, adopt-a-sports centre and adopt-an-athlete as some of the ongoing campaign of the ministry aimed at bringing the private sector to fix some of the facilities.
“When we complete the detailed programme. We intend to invite the private sector to adopt the pitches and fix them. I am sure on an incremental basis, you will see the efforts of the ministry and the private sector.
“We can bring back the glory. You know sports is a big business globally. We are going to look at the new business model we have built around sports.
“We want to bring back Kaduna, Abuja, Lagos and Ibadan. Once we bring back these facilities, we can have such championships coming back to Ibadan,” he said.
The minister who affirmed that there was paucity of fund, said they try novel ideas and initiatives towards bringing funds back to sports from the public and private sectors.
Speaking on the welfare of sports men and women, he said that the ministry would initiate ‘Athletes Sustainance Fund’ and ‘Sports Trust Fund’ has been practiced globally in sports.
According to him, “the components of this is been worked out right now. We know that the welfare of sports men and women is very important and insurance is very critical.
“We intend to keep them on a kind of stipend that would encourage them to train more and not only wait till the time of championships to get going on their career.”
Dare said that the Economic Summit Group would meet in the first week of October, adding a session has been set aside to discuss how to build business around sports.
The minister acknowledged that there are challenges in the sports sector of the country, promising his best to make remarkable and positive impact that surmount such challenges.
“I know there are challenges, but I believe some of them are surmountable with great ideas and efforts. In the face of challenges, I don’t give up until I find ways of surmounting such challenges,” he said.