Nigeria’s Sports Ministry Presents Stringent Conditions Ahead of New NPFL Season

Nigeria’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has listed conditions the Nigeria Football Federation – NFF -, League Management Company – LMC – and the clubs must fulfill before the kick-off of the 2020/2021 Nigerian Professional Football League – NPFL.

Last week, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu disclosed in Abuja that football activities as well as other outdoor events can resume but without fans in the stadium and under the strict supervision of the ministry and the National Centre for Disease Control – NCDC.

However, the Permanent Secretary of the Sports Ministry, Mr. Gabriel Aduda has issued a statement stating that all safety protocols must be met before matches can be staged and that a COVID-19 monitoring and approval team will ensure compliance before any game is played.

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“We are happy that the ban on sports has been lifted after so many months of inactivity due to the COVID-19 scourge,” the statement said. “The ministry is not oblivious of the challenges that would be encountered in organizing football matches.

“We can not take anything for granted. As a way of safeguarding the lives of our players, coaches, officials and fans, approval must be sought and given before any game is played. The ministry would ensure that all protocols and guidelines are obeyed as directed by PTF and NCDC.”

The statement also warned that the season will not commence until the total implementation of club licensing controls is carried out.

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“We have a responsibility to enforce the implementation of the club licensing control as stipulated in the statutes setting up the Nigerian Professional Football League.

“The domestic league will not commence until the regulations and controls bordering on financial and licensing control are enforced.

“The NFF must enforce these regulations and controls as stipulated, otherwise the Nigerian professional and amateur leagues will not be approved to resume.

“These include proper licensing of players, insurance for players and coaches, compliance with FIFA rules on players’ contract and transfer, running the clubs as professional endeavours, among others.”

The statement directed the NFF to communicate these decisions to the clubs to forestall any crisis.

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