The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Friday announced measures it was taking to put an end to the aborted 2019/2020 Nigerian football season, and also kickstart preparations for the 2020/2021 season.
Ademola Olajire, the NFF Director of Communications, said in a statement that the measures were the result of resolutions passed at an online meeting of the NFF Football Committee.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the statement however failed to disclose when the online meeting took place.
The NFF official said the meeting had in attendance the Chairpersons of all the national football leagues and the President of the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA).
“The Executive Committee of the NFF has approved several measures with regards to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Nigeria National League (NNL), Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL), Nationwide League One (NLO) and the AITEO Cup Competition.
“This was after a holistic consideration of all the issues affecting the leagues (including the status of the leagues before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic), such as the impact of the pandemic-induced disruptions, the health, safety and movement restrictive measures in the country.
“Other issues such as the potential protocols for football resumption, the costs, the financial status of the leagues and clubs, CAF calendar and resolutions of the various leagues as conveyed to the NFF,’’ Olajire said.
He said, with regards to the NPFL, the 2019/2020 league has now ended at current Matchday 25.
The NFF spokesman said the Points Per Game (PPG) table would be used to rank the teams in order to ensure sporting merit and sporting fairness.
“The names of the top three clubs on the NPFL final PPG table as at Matchday 25 shall be submitted to CAF to represent Nigeria in the 2020/2021 CAF Inter-Club competitions, with the first two for CAF Champions League and the third slot for CAF Confederation Cup.
“There will be no promotion to, or relegation from, the NPFL for the 2019/2020 season.
“The NPFL 2020/2021 season will start from September/October 2020 and end in May 2021 subject to the full reopening of the country and the approval of the health authorities.’’
Olajire said further that the NNL 2019/2020 season which was at Matchday 3 to 5 and has been on break since Dec. 17 was now cancelled, and declared null and void.
“There will be no promotion to, or relegation, from the NNL.
“Also, the NNL 2020/2021 season will start from September/October 2020 and end in May 2021 subject to the full reopening of the country and the approval of the health authorities.
“The NFF will work with the NNL, the participating clubs and other stakeholders to ensure a successful fresh start from September/October 2020.
“This will include a review of the NNL structure to optimise its development,’’ he said.
The NFF official said the 2019/2020 season, which was yet to commence, has now been aborted.
“Now, the NWFL 2020/2021 will start from September/October 2020 and end in May 2021 subject to the full reopening of the country and the approval of the health authorities.’’
Olajire also said the NLO 2019/2020 season, which was also yet to commence, has been aborted.
“In view of this, there will be no promotion to or relegation from the NLO.
“The NLO 2020/2021 season will start from September/October 2020 to end in May 2021, subject to the full reopening of the country and the approval of the health authorities.’’
He added that the AITEO Cup competition of 2019/2020 which had only commenced at the state level has been aborted.
“The 2019 AITEO Cup winners will now be presented to CAF for the 2020/2021 CAF Inter-Clubs competition as Nigeria’s second representative in the CAF Confederation Cup.
“The AITEO CUP 2020/2021 season will then start from September/October 2020 to end in May 2021, subject to the full reopening of the country and the approval of the health authorities,’’ Olajire said.
The NFF spokesman however pointed out that all dates for the 2020/2021season commencement are subject to the directives of the Federal Government in line with COVID-19 protocols.
“In addition, the full enforcement of licensing regulations and financial controls for the NPFL will commence from the 2020/2021 season.
“All clubs are required to comply, failing which they will be barred from participating.’’
Olajire disclosed also that the NFF would formally take the resolutions to the next General Meeting of its Congress for ratification.
“In the meantime, these resolutions have been formally communicated to the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development,’’ he said.