The Ondo State Government has announced its plan to sell the state-owned football clubs, the Sunshine Stars and the Sunshine Queens of Akure, to the right investors. The Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Bamidele Ologunloluwa, revealed this in an interview on Crest FM in Akure.
Sunshine FC is currently playing in the Nigeria Professional Football League, while the Sunshine Queens are playing in the second division of the Nigeria Women Professional Football League. The commissioner said that the clubs need to be privatized for proper administration and management, and it may lead to the government handing off the clubs completely or partnering with investors.
If a bigger organization shows interest in buying the clubs, they would be sold immediately. For example, if a club like Manchester United expressed interest in having Sunshine Stars as their feeder team, the government would sell it without hesitation. Ologunloluwa emphasized that selling the clubs would be good for sports development and job creation in the state, and the government has no business being in business.
He also noted that the clubs would be sold to any company or individual with a good track record. However, he stated that the clubs were not yet in the market for sale to avoid distractions during the ongoing NPFL season.
The state government has registered a company called Ondo Sports Limited, which will combine Sunshine Stars FC, Sunshine Queens, and Risings Stars. The privatization process will begin after the 2022/2023 league season.
According to Ologunloluwa, the right company taking over the clubs would create more job opportunities. The Memorandum of Understanding would ensure that the company has offices in the three senatorial districts and a ministry in the districts to harvest talents. The commissioner believes that the sale of the clubs would be better for the state, and he hopes that people will understand and appreciate this move.