AS Roma is delighted to announce the club has agreed a three-year partnership with the Nigeria Football Federation.
The partnership, which was unveiled on Friday in Abuja, will see Roma and the NFF collaborate together on and off the pitch, with one long term objective being for the club to play an exhibition match in the country.
Under the terms of the agreement, the two parties will share football, business and media expertise, with Roma offering the NFF technical and operational support and advice in the areas of youth coaching, player development, football administration and digital media best practices.
In return, the NFF will collaborate with Roma's development initiatives in Nigeria as the club continues to embrace and engage football fans in the country.
In the coming months, senior Nigeria Football Federation officials will travel to the Italian capital to observe Roma’s award-winning youth academy. As technical advisors in player development, Roma will work with the NFF to help introduce best practices for developing elite talent in order to improve the quality of players available to the national squad at all age groups.
The club will also host knowledge-sharing sessions on football business and administration in Rome and set up digital and social media workshops in Nigeria for local clubs and officials.
“This promises to be an exciting and ground-breaking partnership for both parties,” said Manolo Zubiria, Chief Global Sporting Officer at AS Roma.
“This club is known throughout football for having one of the most accomplished youth development programmes in the world and in recent years, Roma has developed more players who’ve gone on to play professionally than any other club in Italy.
"Nigeria is a real football nation and we’re looking forward to sharing best practices in elite talent development and football business and administration with the Nigeria Football Federation. We’re also open to working with the N.F.F and their partners to assess the feasibility of one day opening an official AS Roma academy in Nigeria.”
On hand at the signing ceremony were NFF President Amaju Pinnick, 1st Vice President Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, 2nd Vice President Shehu Dikko, General Secretary Dr. Mohammed Sanusi with other Executive Committee members alongside AS Roma’s Head of Academy Massimo Tarantino, Paul Rogers, Head of Strategy at Roma, and Ighodalo Ifada, Head of Africa, Sportfront GmbH.
“We are excited about this unique partnership with AS Roma,” said NFF President Amaju Pinnick.
“We have put in a lot of work to move our federation into a globally recognised space and the fact that Roma chose to partner with Nigeria over any other federation in Africa is an indicator of how much respect our brand and this country has in the world of international football.
"Roma is one of the most respected football clubs in the world, with a very good reputation for consistently developing talented young players. We feel that this partnership can be incredibly beneficial for the Nigerian national team at all age levels and Nigerian football as a whole. Roma have shown an incredible support for the Super Eagles and have fully embraced Nigerian football fans, even launching a Pidgin Twitter account, and we look forward to unveiling the exciting projects and initiatives this partnership will unlock.”
The two parties have also agreed to explore the possibility of AS Roma playing an exhibition match in Nigeria – something that club president Jim Pallotta has championed for some time.
“This formal partnership is the natural evolution of the great relationship between the N.F.F and Roma that began when Roma announced that with Italy absent from the 2018 World Cup, we would be supporting Nigeria,” said Paul Rogers, who traveled to Abuja to agree the partnership with Massimo Tarantino.
“Roma’s digital team began working with the Super Eagles in 2018 on their social media coverage of the World Cup and earlier this year, we again worked with Nigeria during the Africa Cup of Nations. Through our unique use of social media, and initially using the hashtag #ForzaSuperEagles, we’ve developed an incredible and fun rapport with Nigerian football fans, media and celebrities and earlier this year we became the first club outside of Nigeria to launch an official Pidgin account, which is managed in Lagos.
“Jim Pallotta has made no secret of his wish to see Roma play a match in Nigeria as a thank you to the Nigerian fans for the support they have shown us and it would be great if through this partnership, we can make that happen.”