Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) leaders Lobi Stars have been proposed as the champions of the current season (2017/18).
This was one of the decisions reached during an emergency meeting between the League Management Company (LMC) and club owners in Abuja on Thursday night, and it’s subject to ratification from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The decision was taken in a bid to meet CAF’s October deadline for submission of representatives for continental competitions.
The NPFL had gone on break in June to accommodate this summer’s FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia but the proposed July 18 resumption date didn’t see the light of the day due to the recently resolved NFF Crisis.
September 2nd had earlier been communicated to NPFL clubs by the LMC as the new resumption date but that has now been jettisoned after Thursday’s meeting.
After 24 games, Lobi Stars lead the standings with 43 points ahead of nearest challengers Akwa United.
Lobi Stars were proposed as champions by the clubs since the League won’t be able to beat the October 15 deadline from CAF though it has been extended for Nigeria by five days (October 20) so that the country will be able to produce its representatives for both the CAF Champions League (CAFCL) and CAF Confederation Cup (CAFCC).
Lobi Stars will represent Nigeria in the CAFCL upon ratification from the NFF after 16 clubs voted in favour the NPFL ending at the Matchday 24 stage.
Four clubs voted against the idea of ending the current NPFL season abruptly.
Also, no club will be relegated, while the four promoted clubs from the Nigeria National League (NNL) will join the twenty teams to form a 24-team 2018/19 season billed to start in November and run till May.
The 24-team season will be abridged into two groups of 12 each.
It was also agreed that six teams will suffer relegation in the new season, while two teams will be promoted for the NPFL to revert back to the 20-team format ahead of the 2019/20.
Meanwhile, the Aiteo Cup has been scheduled to start on September 5 with the rookies’ stage.
The group format starts at the round of 16 stage.
Aiteo Cup winners will then represent the country in the 2019 edition of the CAFCC.