The League Management Company (LMC) has revealed that Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) outfit Lobi Stars will represent Nigeria at next year’s CAF Champions League (CAF).
The confirmation came via a statement from the NPFL custodian on Friday evening, detailing the various decisions made during an emergency meeting between the body and club owners in Abuja on Thursday.
According to the LMC, the decisions made during the meeting were prompted by the inability to finish the current league season, which stopped at Matchday 24.
At the end of the aforementioned matchday, Lobi Stars led the league with 43 points ahead of nearest challengers Akwa United (41 points).
LMC also added that the decisions made have been approved by the Nigeria Football Federation.
The statement read: “The League Management Company (LMC) held an emergency meeting on the 30th of August 2018, which has, in attendance the 20 NPFL Participating Clubs as well as members of the NFF executive Committee. The meeting was held against the background of the adverse circumstances in the administration of football in the country, which resulted in the postponement of the resumption of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and resulting in huge fixture congestion for both league and cup competitions. This situation made it practically impossible to meet up with the deadline for the submission of the list of the country’s representatives to CAF Inter-Club Competitions and also the need to commence the 2019 season earnest so as to meet with the CAF objective to change the football calendar to AUGUST/MAY from May 2019. After extensive deliberations, the following decisions were reached:
1. Upon consideration of different options (5 possible options were presented), it was unanimously agreed by the 20 NPFL Clubs, that the 2017/2018 season of the NPFL is deemed concluded and the team at the top of the standings – Lobi Stars shall be the representative in the CAF Champions League for 2019 Session starting Nov 2018 to May 2019.
2. No team shall be relegated from the NPFL for 2018 Season.
3. Four Teams shall be promoted to the NPFL from the Nigeria National League (NNL) from the ongoing 2018 season to compete in the 2018/2019 NPFL season.
4. The 2018/2019 NPFL season will commence in November 2018 with a total of 24 participating teams, which shall be divided into two groups of 12 teams each. The 2018/2019 Season commencing November 2018 will be played on 22 Match days ending with a Play off to determine the Winner by May 2019.
5. Three teams from each group (a total of six) will be relegated from the NPFL after the conclusion of the 2018/2019 season, while two teams will be promoted to the NPFL from the NNL 2019 Season. This will allow the NPFL to revert to its normal structure of 20 teams as from the 2019/2020 season.
6. The NFF have also endorsed for the 2019 AITEO CUP to commence from September 2018 to end October 14, 2018. The NPFL Teams would be seeded for the CUP competition and the Winner to represent Nigeria in the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup starting November 2019.”