The Chairman of Nilayo Sports Management, the organiser of the annual Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Bukola Olopade, has responded to the allegations of the delayed payments to Nigerian Athletes that participated at the 2020 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
Bukola Olopade explained in a telephone chat with our correspondent with so much disheartened towards the Nigerian Athletes for not keeping forth with the brand during the pandemic even as a Covid-19 Survivor.
“Firstly, Our Marathon is in the sixth year, we have never for one single year including appearances fees not given money to winners, Never once ! , he emphasized .
Reports of the delayed payments of the Prize money was communicated to our correspondent by a relation of one of the athletes who was affected financially by the lock down .
Bukola further explained that the delay was never intentional but was caused by the lock down and the technicalities in the Central Bank Foreign Exchange regulations.
“Secondly , the country has been on locked down for three months out of the four months , and it is four months because you can’t count February , he explained , to get paid , you cannot count eight weeks after the Marathon because you must wait for the Urine test and that is the rule of Marathon , Nobody pays until after the test comes out after eight weeks, he stressed .
He continued with so much profundity on the subject and how much the brand has done to make sure the payments wasn’t delayed.
“We have written to World Athletics and International runners because of the exchange rate of dollar , we budgeted dollar at 360 but because of Covid -19, dollars went to 46… (something) , the Sponsors have agree to augment but these things that takes time to evolve . we are waiting for Central Bank to give us approval , There are a lot of technicalities involved, people don’t just do Marathons , there are a lot of issues we need to go through so that we don’t breach the laws of the country “ , He concluded .
On the issue of Domestic Prize Money for Nigerian Athletes , Ozogula , as Bukola Olopade is popularly called , threatened to discontinue Prize Money for Nigerian Athletes .
“ We are the only Marathon in the world that does Domestic Prize money because we know our Children cannot win the race and we are going to stop it , I am not under obligation to put prize money for Nigerian Athletes .
Olopade is a two-term Commissioner of for Youth and Sports in Ogun State and a Covid-19 Survivor .