Brazil football legend, Pele, has been asked by the Akwa Ibom State Government to refund a $300,000 (more than 135 million Naira) appearance fee paid him after he failed to grace the opening of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo 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 then Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on November 7, 2014, with King of Football Pele billed to appear at the elaborate event.
However, the legendary Pele did not grace the occasion even after his agents received a $300,000 payment because there was a shift in dates for the opening of the multi-million dollar sporting edifice nicknamed ‘The Nest of Champions’.
The oil-rich Akwa Ibom Government has since been demanding that the appearance fee be refunded and so far their efforts have come to nought.
“The Akwa Ibom Government wants their cash back, but so far all their efforts have proved abortive,” a source said.
“They 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.”
Many years after he retired from the game, three-time world champion Pele has cashed in on his charisma to rake in millions of dollars through special guest appearances around the globe.