Football To Resume in Nigeria in Post COVID-19

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says the 2019-2020 football season which was interrupted on March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume after the coronavirus crisis.

Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, and the NFF held a meeting on Friday, April 17, 2020, where the resumption date of the season was discussed.

In a statement the NFF issued after the meeting, it has been agreed that the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season will be completed within six to eight weeks after the coronavirus crisis.

The statement noted that the resumption of the season would depend on a “clear go-ahead” from relevant authorities in the country.

The football body revealed that when the season resumes, the new format the league would adopt to complete the 2019-2020 season would be determined by health and security guidelines, decisions of global football bodies (FIFA and CAF) on football calendar and available time.

NFF to keep Football alive in Nigeria

Plateau United football team
Plateau United football team

The NFF via its statement promised to work with the League Management Committee to ensure that the salaries of footballers and coaches are protected during the coronavirus crisis.

“NFF will constantly review the football calendar as the issues develop and periodically keep stakeholders informed on proposals and plans”, the statement said.

“The Honourable Minister is working on many channels including but not limited to the setting-up of an Athletes Protection Fund (driven by the private sector) and sourcing for intervention/support funding that could be utilised to support athletes and sports, including the football industry affected by this pandemic.

“The NFF has mandated the Leagues to work to ensure players, coaches and other employees’ salaries are protected and should liaise with club owners to ensure players are paid accordingly.

“That the domestic league must be protected to ensure its commercial viability is sustained and the competition’s integrity upheld both in the current circumstances and post COVID-19 pandemic.”

Before the NPFL season was interrupted indefinitely due to the pandemic, Plateau United has already taken the lead with 49 points in 25 matches. The club is closely followed by Rivers United and Lobi Stars with 45 and 43 points respectively.

If the league ends today, it means that Plateau United will lift the prestigious NPFL trophy for the first time in over 40 years.