Following the ruling by the Trademark Commission of Nigeria on the rightful owners of the proprietary and trademark of the Higher Institution Football League (HiFL), Pace Sports which had the judgment in its favour has said it is yet on course to reposition and rebrand collegiate sports to the admiration of sports lovers and enthusiasts in the country.

The sport marketing company is heaving a sigh of relief after the judgment which vanquished Green White Green Limited, the other party laying claim to the trademark.

Speaking to The Industry exclusively on the ruling, its Director, Sola Fijabi, said that the company was vindicated by the ruling is a testament to its conviction and truthfulness in the whole ensuing drama as  there was no locus standi for the case in the first place.

“It was obviously a malicious attempt by an individual who was just up to a mischief. We contracted him for a job and thereafter he failed to honor the terms of the agreement we had with him on the contract that says on no account should he use the proprietary as it belongs to us. By sleight of hand, he went ahead to register to use the proprietary but our lawyers were smart enough to see through his antics puncturing the injunction which he had sought. And to think that this was somebody we did not owe a dime while he worked for us, it is highly reprehensible. What he did in the eye of the law is criminal and our lawyers are out to ensure that justice is done even after this ruling, he said.”  

Fijabi noted that now that the issue has been finally laid to rest, Pace Sports is now more resolute to enhance grassroot sports development in the country through the platform of collegiate sports and games which is the heart and soul of sports development in most countries of the world where sports and academics are married.

He disclosed that the first two editions of the league were a huge success and so in line with the tradition, the third edition holding this year promises to be exciting and eventful as ever.

‘With the draws concluded, we are  ready to kick off this year’s edition after the break we had last year due to the COVID 19 pandemic which ravaged the entire world. The teams from the respective universities are ready to slug it out with themselves for the diadem in what promises to be an exhilarating contest.

We are proud to say the HIFL has been a huge success especially with the fallouts of the two previous editions where talents were discovered and spotted and recruited by local and foreign football scouts for their respective clubs, he observed”

When asked to quantify the contributions of sports marketing through the HIFL to sports development and of course the economy in Nigeria, Fijabi noted that it may be difficult to do so in figures considering the fact that there are tangible and intangible benefits therein.

There is no way one can place a figure to what we have been able to do with HIFL. There are so many values that HIFL has added that it will be impossible to say that this is the actual monetary value that we can arrive at.

For us, we believe that what is more important is to look at the effect of both the tangible and intangible benefits on sports development and the economy.

For instance, since the introduction of the league, social vices among the youth especially those in the universities have drastically reduced as these students are engaged in football while their academics is not disrupted. An idle hand they say is a devil’s workshop.

Also, some of these players have been offered an opportunity to make a living for themselves by foreign and local clubs which scramble for their signatures after encountering the talents displayed by these players at the HIFL. Some of the players are also offered admission to continue their education in some foreign universities while they play football, he said”

He concluded that by these testimonies, the HIFL was further poised to discovering more talents in the grassroots which he hopes would get to national limelight in the no distant future.    

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