NFF concludes plans to discontinue 2019-20 NPFL campaign
The Nigeria Football Federation has decided to end the 2019-20 Nigeria Football League season with no champions, no promotion or relegation, and continental football places decided based on the points-per-game principle.
On March 18, the League Management Company announced the suspension of NPFL games following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
Few weeks later, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) recorded a steady rise in the number of reported cases of infections and consequently, the federal government announced a nationwide lockdown.
Restrictions have since been lifted but the number of new cases of the novel virus has not declined.
Consequently, the Nigerian authorities deem conditions unsafe for sporting activities to return.
And given realities, the NFF do not foresee an improvement in conditions anytime soon.
According to an NFF statement made available to media outlets on Friday, the body decided to end the campaign, “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), the impact of the pandemic-induced disruptions, the health, safety and movement restrictive measures in the country, 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”.
Determining the final standings, though, would not be possible, as some teams have played more matches than others.
To rank the teams for purpose of picking representatives in CAF competitions, the NFF — following an online meeting with leaders of all the national leagues and the president of the Nigeria Referees Association — has elected to adopt PPG in deciding continental places.
Regarding the Nigeria National League — which was suspended after only three rounds of matches — the NFF has also decided not to continue with the campaign and no teams would be promoted or relegated.
The Nigeria Women’s Football League and the Nationwide Leagues — both yet to kick off — are also to be cancelled, with neither relegation nor promotion of teams.
Stakeholders also proposed the new season to begin in September or October, subject to government approval.
Names of the top two teams based on PPG would represent Nigeria in the CAF Champions League, while the third team as well as the winners of last year’s Aiteo Cup, Kano Pillars, would play in the Confederation Cup.