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The next season of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) will commence in February and not January as earlier speculated

The Premier League Management Committee that was inaugurated by Aminu Maigari, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president on Thursday rose from its maiden sitting and declared that the league should commence on February 16, 2013.

The Committee also declared that participating clubs must show evidence of payment of N50 million bank bond or guarantee before clubs will be allowed to participate.

Honourable Nduka Irabor, who heads the interim committee, promised after their inauguration that the committee will do their best to re-position the Premier League according to the directives and stipulates of the Nff.

"It is surely a challenging assignment but with the calibre of the people in this Committee, I believe the task would be made easier", Irabor noted.

Maigari had charged the Nduka Irabor-led committee to ensure the Premier League starts before the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa on January 19 but the Committee came out later after its first sitting to announce the February 16 commencement date.

Abubakar Nuhu Dan Buran, Commissioner for Commerce in Kano State and member of the Committee disclosed some other decisions made by the Committee.

"We have been able to come up with important decisions that will help the league in the country and we have critically looked at issues that affect the welfare of the players who are the major actors.

"I will also say that we arrived at the February 16 kick-off date of the Premier League because clubs need enough time to meet the Committee's demands and requirements prescribed to make the league better," Abubakar told Goal.com in Abuja on Thursday.

"Club needs time to prepare and get the N50 million bank guarantees required to be able to participate.

“We are aware of the fact that averagely, clubs spend about N2.5 million. If you multiply this by 38 matches, this amounts to over N90 million. So the N50 million is a good start.

"We also looked at the issue of medical. It is a critical thing and it is one thing that CAF and FIFA are very serious and particular about in terms of ensuring the good health of players and guide against prevalent issues like cardiac arrest. Any player that fails the test will not participate in the league.

"Also seminars will be conducted for medicals and administrations in Kano between January 9 and 13, 2013.

“As regards the issue of sponsorship we have already said that we are going to look at all contractual obligations as regards to the issue of the league.

“We have a sub-committee that is looking at that. We are going to look at it and do everything possible to resolve third knotty issue," Abubakar concluded.

Three members among the 13-man Premier League Management Committee were absent during the inauguration.  Kanu Nwankwo, former Super Eagles captain; Mike Enahoro, who sent a representative and Kunle Elebute.

 Committee’s terms of reference

Organise the 2012/2013 league.

Review all contractual obligations of the NPL, including TV and sponsorship rights.

Develop strategy and facilitate the reform of the league towards achieving profitability.

Review existing rules and guidelines for the election into NPL Board

Develop new standards for players' contracts and welfare.

Any other relevant matter(s) the Committee may deem necessary.

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