‘Minister studying stakeholders’ recommendation
Only the Federal Government, through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, can decide the possible kick-off date for the 2020/2021 Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) season, the Ministry of Sports has revealed.
The League Management Company (LMC) in concert with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) called off the 2019/2020 season on March 18 when it became obvious that players and officials’ lives would be endangered if the league continued under the current coronavirus pandemic.
The stakeholders, including the LMC, NFF, clubs and other organisations involved in the competition, met recently to formally end the competition and choose Nigeria’s representatives in the 2020/2021 CAF inter-club competitions.
They chose the Point Per Game (PPG) system to determine Nigeria’s ambassadors in the continent next season, but there has been a contention between Rivers United and Enyimba as to which of them would join Plateau United in the CAF Champions League.
Kano Pillars are expected to join either Rivers United or Enyimba in the CAF Confederation Cup when everything is settled.
Special Assistant to the Sports Minister on Media, John Joshua Akanji told The Guardian yesterday that the ministry has received the report from the NFF and is currently studying it.
“The minister will liaise with the Federal Government and the PTF to decide the possible kick off date for the new season. But before then, he will look at the decision by the league body and the NFF to ensure that the right things were done. We hear that some clubs feel shortchanged by the outcome of the stakeholders’ meeting. That is why he will look at all the possible solutions and ensure that the right thing is done.
“After that, he will meet with the PTF, which is the only agency that could determine when a crowd pulling competition like the league can start,” Akanji said.
Apart from the 2020/2021 NPFL season kick off, the PTF, headed by the Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha, is also expected to decide when it is safe to hold the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival.
The festival was earlier scheduled to hold in Benin in March, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.