Nigerian athletes and coaches have vowed to resist the payment of the N100 levy per training session for using facilities at the National Stadium in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the levy was announced via banners displayed on Monday at the two entrances to the stadium and will take effect from October 1.
According to the notice, tickets will be issued to each athlete at each point of entry to the sports arena as proof of payment.
The notice said the measure became necessary to enable the National Sports Commission (NSC) to serve them better, adding that the morning training session would be from 6am to 12 noon and the afternoon session will hold from 2pm to 6pm.
This means that an athlete would pay N200 daily if he intends to use the facility in the morning and in the afternoon.
A similar car park fee of N50 per vehicle on working days and N100 at the weekends and public holidays imposed by the NSC took effect from January 1.
The athletes condemned the levy. They claimed the measure would do more harm to sports and that the levy meant an added burden on them.
Gloria Moses, a bronze medallist at the world weightlifting qualifying championships in 2008 in South Africa, said the levy was an added burden to athletes.
"It is unfair for the stadium authorities or whoever to levy each athlete N100 per training session.
"Some of these athletes beg their coaches for transport money to go back home after training. Nobody recognised me for bringing honour to my country.
"The way athletes are being treated in this country is disgusting. Nobody paid me a dime for winning a bronze for my country; it is sad," she said.
Bassey Bassey, the current national judo heavyweight champion, said the levy would further compound the country's sports problems.
"An athlete is not supposed to pay to train. This is the first time since 1973 when the stadium was inaugurated that an athlete is being asked to pay to train.
"It is very bad. Is that the way to encourage the athletes to excel in both national and international competitions?"
Peter Okghu, who featured for Nigeria at the Region Two Athletics meet in Makurdi in June, said the levy would be vehemently resisted on October 4.
"We are waiting for them. There is going to be `war' here at the National Stadium as the athletes are ready to force the stadium authorities to reverse the decision," Okghu said.
A weightlifter, Gabriel Jacob, described the levy as a "way of killing the potential of the athletes".
Basketball coach Lateef Folami called the levy "double taxation without representation" which nobody in his or her right sense would support.
An athletics coach Adegboyega Adenuga described the levy as "unfortunate".
"I think the whole idea is to prevent people who do not have anything to do at the stadium from entering.
"But the stadium authorities should have carried the coaches along by telling them to prepare identity cards for their athletes and players for easy identification.
"The way they are trying to go about it could lead to a breakdown of law and order which could also result in the loss of lives if not properly handled," the coach said.
However, the Stadium Manager Abolore Alanamu said that the levy was for the use of facilities at the mainbowl alone.
He stated that armed policemen would be stationed at the mainbowl to dislodge the miscreants who had turned the facility into their permanent abode.
"We have tried all means possible to eject these hoodlums who train, bath and sleep at the stadium but to no avail.
"With 10 armed policemen or even six, the job will be accomplished because we cannot continue to watch the facilities being vandalised on a daily basis.
"They defecate and vandalise seats at the mainbowl where government is spending a lot to maintain. We will not tolerate this any longer," Alanamu said.