The Nigeria Football Federation has insisted that no decision has been reached on how to conclude the 2019-20 Nigeria Professional Football League season following a vote by a majority of club chairmen to curtail the campaign which has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Seventeen club chairmen voted on Sunday to end the season early and award continental places to the top three teams using a Points Per Game system.
But the NFF which regulates football in the country released a series of tweets on its official handle on Monday emphasising that a “wide consultation” is still ongoing and nothing has yet been decided with respect to concluding all domestic football in the country.
All professional football has been suspended in the country since 18 March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement quotes the federation’s secretary-general Dr Mohammed Sanusi as saying “that everyone should wait until after the ongoing consultations” for an official position on concluding the current campaign.
“The NFF declared that wide consultation is still ongoing as to the format and pattern of foreclosing the 2019/2020 Football Season, including that of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL,” the federation said via its official twitter handle on Monday.
“Reacting to widespread reports that a vast majority of club owners in the Nigeria Professional Football League had voted to end the season and therefore, the Points Per Game (PPG) principle would be adopted to determine Nigeria’s flagbearers in next year’s continental club competitions, NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, said that everyone should wait until after the ongoing consultations.”
Sunday’s vote is an indication that NPFL club chairmen have grown weary with uncertainty surrounding the current campaign.
Prior to the vote, the consensus among stakeholders prior was that the campaign should be decided on the pitch rather than ended prematurely with LMC chairman Shehu Dikko touting the “Super Six” tournament option as the “most feasible” of four proposed scenarios for deciding the season.
However, recent comments by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 Boss Mustapha has cast serious doubt about the possibility of the return of competitive football anytime soon.
Mr Mustapha had said the Federal Government has no plans in the short to medium term to allow the staging of sporting activities.
With that reality, it appears the club chairmen have decided to prioritise next season by voting to end this one early.
The development if carried through would be the second time in three years an NPFL campaign would be abandoned mid-season after the 2018 season was also curtailed with 14 games left to play.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football has released a comprehensive plan to guide the Member Associations (MA’s) on the restart of football activities on the continent.
The 27-page document titled “CAF Guidelines to Resume Football in Africa” emphasizes on the health of the major stakeholders (Players, Officials, Fans, Partners) as the essential element, which should constitute the basis of all decisions regarding the reintroduction of football activities across the continent supported by the authorization of relevant State Authorities.
The plan also highlights on effective and continuous medical assessment (testing) of players and officials, guidelines for training sessions, disinfection of sporting facilities, as well as strict adherence to the global preventive protocols.