Reports making the rounds says agents representing two influential Super Eagles players; Mikel Obi and Victor Moses regarding image rights have written to the Nigeria Football Federation complaining of brand infringement on their clients as a result of the Coca-Cola deal with the national team.
Both players have a deal with rival soft-drink company Pepsi-Cola while the national team has an agreement with Coca Cola.
They said the use of the image of their clients on branding by Coca-Cola may lead to the players running into infringement problems with the rival Pepsi and thereby risk losing the deal, ThisDay reports.
However, a top source at the NFF said yesterday that the matter raised by representatives of both Mikel and Moses was being looked into with the hope that it will not affect the relationships the various parties have with their sponsors.
“Yes, we (the NFF officials) have been contacted by the agents of Mikel and Moses on the Coca-Cola deal.
“They have stated that their clients have deals with another soft drink company. But it’s nothing for Nigerians to get worried over as the matter is being sorted out.
“We have made the initial response and all sides are talking and I believe it won’t cause us any distractions,” stressed the NFF official who refused to be named in print last night.
As it stands, what can or must the NFF do to avert issues with partners involved in the image rights deal.
Understand Image right and its importance: Cloete in his book, Introduction to Sports Law in South Africa (2005), defines image rights succinctly as follows:
“The ability of an individual to exclusively control the commercial use of his name, physical/pictoral image, reputation, identity, voice, personality, signature, initials or nickname in advertisements, marketing and all other forms of media…The sportsperson…often earns substantial license fee or royalties that is paid for the privilege of allowing his name to be used for promotional purposes”
Brands and organizations enter into arrangements under which individual athletes are appointed brand ambassadors, make appearances on the brand’s behalf, advertise and endorse their products and services.
Engage Marketing Professionals: In recent times, image rights has become a huge source of revenue for sports stars globally with brands looking to partner on all fronts. Professionals would dissect and understand the deal. Basically what was signed, for how long, and under what terms.
For the players, protecting their contracts would be priority as it could further influence future dealings with other brands while we think about national interest.
It is as simple as ABC, as seen in Mohammed Salah’s case where it took top-level political intervention to resolve. The Liverpool forward had his image featured on the outside of the Egypt national team’s plane, which was provided by official team sponsor WE. Salah has a sponsorship deal with rival telecommunications firm Vodafone.
In this part of the world, it is sad that we are most times reactive than proactive which is highly unacceptable way to deal. Perhaps we should just say, we tend to shut our minds from doing what is right and try to manage situations when things have gone haywire.