An investment fund tagged “the Nigerian Football Fund”(TNFF) has been unveiled by the Nigerian capital market community yesterday to enhance the country’s sports industry.
TNFF is a collective investment scheme that combines the regular advantages of a mutual fund with unique propositions of a structured fund.
TNFF is raising N5 billion through an initial public offering of 5.0 billion units at N1 per unit.
The minimum subscription to the fund is 100,000 or N100,000 in multiples of N100,000 thereafter.
The TNFF is registered as an open-ended fund by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and it is managed by GTI Asset Management & Trust Ltd., a member of GTI Group.
Speaking on the TNFF, a former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mr Femi Pedro, said that it would fill the missing link in the development of Nigerian sports.
“The TNFF provides a unique vehicle to mobilise private sector funding for sports development, thus enabling the sector to contribute significantly to national economic development,” Pedro said.
He noted that efficient and consistent funding ha been the major gap undermining the potential of the Nigerian sports’ ecosystem.
“This is an historic occasion, a milestone in the development of Nigerian sports, I have no doubt that this will unlock the potential of the sports ecosystem.
“I personally endorse this project, there is no shortage of investment assets in the sports industry and I’m sure investors will get good returns,” Pedro said.
He added that the TNFF aligns with the national agenda of turning sports into a financially rewarding industry that would be attractive to investors.
“I consider this very creative because the missing link has always been money, we have the people, the talent, the passion, resoruces and everything you can think of, but we don’t have a managerial funding to actualise our dream,” he said.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sports, Hon. Olumide Osoba, commended GTI for its innovativeness noting that the TNFF‘s investment proposal supports government’s efforts at diversifying the economy.
Osoba said that the National Assembly would continue to support private sector initiatives aimed at fostering national growth and development.
Seyi Akinwunmi, the Vice President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), said that the TNFF would herald a lot of greatness in the Nigerian sports industry with several multiplier effects on the economy, security and youth employment.
According to him, TNFF will change the narrative in Nigerian sports through major investments, creative initiatives and creation and maintenance of higher standards.
“We at NFF are proud of GTI, we did our independent investigation and we were satisfied of the pedigree of the group before we agreed to partner with them,” Akinwunmi said.
Abubakar Lawal, the Group Managing Director, GTI Group, said that the TNFF would serve as an enabler for sustainable funding of football and other sports, with a target of growing sports’ contribution to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 0.5 per cent within the next five years.
“The way it will affect the economy is monumental, first of all, you have a vehicle that people will put money across the globe and what it does is that natural structure will emerge on the back of this.
“TNFF is an enabler, the project is massive such that employment will be created, liquidity will be provided, infrastructure will be delivered, insecurity will be managed, economy will develop from this experience.
“If you look at the prospectus, we have a target; in five years, this project should represent 0.5 per cent of the GDP, that is massive.
“The GDP as of today is between 450 billion dollars and 500 billion dollars without rebasing. Nigerians will soon begin to see, this is a way to start the rebranding and restructuring of Nigeria, creating a plain-level field, fresh opportunities for Nigerians. A new asset class is born,” Lawal said.
He said that TNFF offers immense opportunities to all stakeholders noting that the birth of TNFF means Nigeria now has a new asset class that average investors and fund managers can put their money into and be rest assured of good returns.
“The story of this project is like that of an elephant, what you see depends on the side you are, for example, if you are an average investor, of course you will be there to earn reward of dividend.
“If you are a sport enthusiast, you will see progress in the sporting ecosystem and by extension, the Nigeria economy, if you are government, you will see tax and revenue growing up, so it all depends on the side of the divide that you are and that is why the entire structure is designed to take everybody along.
“With all the benefit, it is super attractive, first of all, it is unique, we have never had anything near this in the past for novelty, for ingenuity, for the originality, it is fantastic and the beauty of this is that the regulators have been able to deliver it in such a way that it is risk-managed and everybody is excited. So, it is quite beneficial to everybody,” Lawal said.
He added that TNFF would also free up government revenue by reducing government involvement in sport funding.