The Akwa Ibom State Government is demanding that Brazilian football legend, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, refunds a $300,000 (more than N135 million) appearance fee paid him after he failed to grace the opening of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo about two years ago.
The 30,000-capacity stadium, which at the weekend played host to Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria, was opened by the then Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, on November 7, 2014, with the King of Football Pele billed to appear at the elaborate event.
It was learnt that the iconic Brazilian did not grace the occasion even after his agents received a $300,000 payment.
The rationale behind is absence, it was gathered, was because of a shift in dates for the opening of the multi-million dollar sporting edifice nicknamed ‘The Nest of Champions’.
AfricanFootball quoted a top source in state as saying that the government has since been demanding that the appearance fee be refunded and so far their efforts have come to void.
“The Akwa Ibom Government wants the cash back, but so far all efforts have proved abortive,” the source said.
“The government want all the $300,000, but some experts in the business have advised they should angle for a part of this sum.
“Pele’s people have continued to insist they were not the ones who breached the agreement and so they could not be liable.
“And that by the time a new date for the opening of the stadium was fixed, their client was committed to another engagement.”