The Sports Ministry says the country’s professional leagues will not resume until clubs adhere with all club licensing regulations and ensure Covid-19 protocols are put in place.
Professional football has been halted since 18 March but the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 gave the greenlight last Thursday for the return of the sport and other non-contact sports under strict guidelines.
Matches are to be played behind closed doors and in compliance with Covid-19 protocols under the supervision of the Sports Ministry and the NCDC.
In a statement signed by its permanent secretary Mr. Gabriel Aduda, the sports ministry while commending President Mohammadu Buhari and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 for reopening football and team sports said it will ensure full compliance with all guidelines.
The ministry warned that no football will take place without clubs’ fulfilling all licencing regulations and tasked the Nigeria Football Federation with ensuring that clubs are duly informed about meeting with their obligations.
“The Ministry shall ensure full compliance with all necessary protocols and tests before approval is given for resumption or sporting activity or football matches. Approval must be sought and given before any game is played, all protocols must be put in place and guidelines obeyed as directed by PTF and NCDC,” the statement read.
“The Ministry has set up a COVID-19 monitoring and approval team for every sport engagement and event.
“Indeed, the steps to return our football league to prime position is ongoing.
“The domestic league will not commence until the regulations and controls in the aspect of financial and licensing control are put in place.
“The NFF must put clubs on notice and enforce these regulations and controls as stipulated, otherwise the Nigerian Professional and Amateur Leagues would not be approved for resumption”.