CBN Tennis: Players counter NTF boss over unpaid prizes

Thirteen days after the end of the Central Bank of Nigeria Senior Tennis Open in Abuja, a player who took part in the event has revealed that she has yet to receive her prize money, Saturday PUNCH reports.

It comes after Nigerian Tennis Federation president Ifedayo Akindoju told our correspondent that all players at the event had been paid.

The punch reported on May 31 that several players who took part in the 10-day championship at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja had yet to be paid.

Our correspondent has learned that some of the players had borrowed money to take part in the event, but were stuck in Abuja, with some sleeping inside the national stadium waiting to be paid.

It was also found that several factors, including a change in policy, signers and inappropriate banking documents from the athletes, caused the late payment.

Our correspondent has learned that each player at the event was to receive N50,000 as a tournament appearance fee.

Talk with Saturday PUNCH, Akindoju said, “All the players who participated in the tournament were all practically paid. We regret the delay in the payment of prize money which has never occurred before.

But Omotayo Blessing, who reached the women’s doubles semi-finals, denied Akindoju’s claims, insisting she had yet to be paid despite several assurances from the federation secretary.

“I didn’t get paid for participating in the tournament,” Omotayo said only Saturday PUNCH.

“I called the NTF secretary to ask her what delayed the payment, but she continues to assure me that I will get my rights soon.

“I submitted all the necessary bank details, but I haven’t received my money yet. I don’t know what to do.

Another player, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “This is the first time this has happened. I played in five CBN tournaments and got paid immediately. I don’t know why they paid the others and refused to pay some of us.

A source told our correspondent that the problem arose after the Ministry of Sports took over the payment of bonuses to players, which was generally the responsibility of the federation.

But a media aide to the sports minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the fault did not lie with the ministry.

“How can the ministry pay for the CBN-sponsored program,” he said.

“Not true. The ministry was never in charge of this. It was the CBN payment structure for athletes that caused the delay. The issues are being sorted out. All athletes and officials will soon be getting their dues CBN is the sponsor and they never have to.

Nonso Madueke clinched the men’s singles title after a stunning 2-1 (2-6, 7-6, 2-0) win over Henry Atseye in the men’s singles final, while No. 1 seed Marylove Edwards beat Oyinlomo Quadri 2-1 (2-6 6-2 6-4) to win the women’s title at the 44th edition of the tournament.

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