Home » Nigerian businessman Tony Elumelu eyes ownership of football club

Nigerian businessman Tony Elumelu eyes ownership of football club

Elumelu considers club ownership to boost Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL)

by Omokolade Ajayi
Tony Elumelu

Nigerian business magnate and philanthropist Tony Elumelu has expressed interest in acquiring a club in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), potentially marking a significant shift in domestic football ownership.

Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa (UBA), hinted at his intentions during a recent exchange on X, formerly Twitter, following discussions with Sports Minister John Owan Enoh. This dialogue comes amid ongoing discussions about the role of private investment in revitalizing Nigerian football.

Elumelu considers club ownership to boost NPFL

The conversation gained traction with a proposal urging prominent corporations to invest in NPFL clubs as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. This concept envisioned figures like Elumelu taking ownership of clubs, potentially enhancing competition and elevating the league.

Elumelu responded positively to the proposal, indicating ongoing talks with Minister John Owan Enoh about its potential. He mentioned being approached by the minister and other prominent figures to explore buying a club to boost NPFL’s growth.

A titan in the Nigerian business landscape, Elumelu’s leadership roles in Heirs Holdings, UBA Group, and Transcorp Plc solidify his position as one of the continent’s most influential investors. His recent success in steering UBA towards exceptional financial performance further cements his position among the top business figures in the country.

UBA’s 2023 fiscal year financial report revealed a substantial increase in profits, exceeding expectations despite challenging economic conditions. The surge, amounting to 257 percent, propelled the pan-African financial services group’s profits to N607.7 billion ($468.8 million), showcasing Elumelu’s adept leadership and UBA’s resilience.

Nigerian moguls explore football ventures

This development echoes similar expressions of interest from Nigerian business moguls in football ownership. Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest man and chairman of the Dangote Group, previously considered acquiring English football club Arsenal FC in 2021. With Elumelu now potentially entering the domestic football scene, anticipation is renewed regarding the potential transformation of NPFL clubs under private ownership.

As discussions surrounding Elumelu’s prospective venture progress, stakeholders anticipate potential transformative effects on Nigerian football, encompassing both infrastructure development and increased league competitiveness. With his proven track record of fostering growth and innovation, Elumelu’s foray into football ownership could mark a significant chapter for Nigerian sports history.

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