Plateau United-NPFLShengolpixs

NPFL season to be concluded within eight weeks after coronavirus crisis – NFF

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) announced the 2019-20 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season will be completed within six to eight weeks after the coronavirus crisis.

The league was suspended indefinitely on March 18 after Matchday 25, to contain the spread of Covid-19 that has paralysed sporting activities in the country and the world at large.

As of Friday, Nigeria has recorded 493 cases of the virus with 17 deaths and 159 recoveries so far.

Article continues below

The football authority suspended football activities for four weeks on March 15 while some parts of the country have been placed under lockdown.

Although there is no definite resumption date, NFF admitted a new format might be adopted depending on the time available and instructions from health and security agencies.

“The current football season will be concluded within six to eight weeks of the re-opening of the country and a clear go-ahead by the relevant authorities is obtained to commence football activities,” the statement read.

“The format to be adopted upon the resumption of football activities regarding the completion of the various Leagues and Cup competition will be determined by the time available, health and security guidelines, as well as decisions by global football authorities on the football calendar and international competitions (Caf and Fifa).

“NFF will constantly review the football calendar as the issues develop and periodically keep stakeholders informed on proposals and plans.

“The Honourable Minister is working on many channels including but not limited to the setting-up of an Athletes Protection Fund (driven by the private sector) and sourcing for intervention/support funding that could be utilised to support athletes and sports, including the football industry affected by this pandemic.

“The NFF has mandated the Leagues to work to ensure players, coaches and other employees’ salaries are protected and should liaise with club owners to ensure players are paid accordingly.

“That the domestic league must be protected to ensure its commercial viability is sustained and the competition's integrity upheld both in the current circumstances and post Covid-19 pandemic.”

Plateau United sit at the top of the league with 49 points after 25 matches while Rivers United and Lobi Stars follow in the second and third spots respectively.