September 25, 2021

‘Wash-and-wear’: FG blames sports federations for jersey shortage at Tokyo Olympics

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The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development says it is not responsible for the provision of competition jerseys for athletes at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The ministry said this two days after a video showing Nigeria’s shot put finalist, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, washing his jersey ahead of his final game at Tokyo 2020 Olympics surfaced online.

Enekwechi, who later finished 12th in the final, uploaded the TikTok video on his Instagram page, @thechuksay, before he later deleted it.

The caption in the video indicated that the athlete was given one jersey for the competition.

“When you made the Olympic Finals, but you only have one jersey,” he wrote.

The video got many Nigerians angry, with some blaming the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, for “poor supervision”.

They also blamed the sports ministry for rejecting the $2.7 million kits donated by PUMA through a controversial deal with a faction of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.

However, the sports ministry said federations were responsible for the provision of competition jersey for athletes.

The statement signed by Acting Director, Federations and Elite Athletes Department, Dr Simon Ebohjaiye, read, “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has been drawn to the fallacies and inaccurate stories being peddled about in the media space about the kits for Team Nigeria to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and wishes to make the following important clarifications:

“Firstly, when it comes to kits or sports equipment for Team Nigeria, there are two (2) categories: these are General Wears and the Competition Wears.

“The General Wears category is the responsibility of the Ministry. The kitting of Team Nigeria for various National, Continental and International sporting events has always been the responsibility of the Ministry and this was no different for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“For the records, Team Nigeria was properly kitted for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with the Ministry procuring a 9-item bag of kits for each of our athletes and officials.

“The second category of kits is the Competition Wears. This category is the specific competition kits that are peculiar to each sport and provided by the individual Sports Federation.

“The Ministry provides financial support to each Sports Federation as required. It is, therefore, the responsibility of each National Sports Federation to provide these competition Wears to their team athletes and officials.

“For the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, each of the Sports Federations procured the Competition Wears for their respective teams, in relation to their specific needs.

“Furthermore, in providing General Wears for Team Nigeria, the Ministry leveraged on the Local Content Policy of the Federal Government in looking inwards to engaging an indigenous company, AFA Sports, to produce the general kits.”

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