The federal government through the ministry of Youth and Sports Development has cautioned the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and club owners that no stadium would be opened for any football game without strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
The minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, in a statement signed by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Gabriel Aduda, said the government is not oblivious of the challenges that would be encountered in organising football matches and will not take anything for granted.
He noted that the league body and club owners must implement club licensing control before the resumption of new football season.
“We are happy that the ban on sports has been lifted after so many months of inactivity due to the COVID-19 scourge. The ministry is not oblivious of the challenges that would be encountered in organising football matches. We cannot 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 will be played. The ministry will ensure that all protocols and guidelines are obeyed as directed by PTF and NCDC.”
“The ministry has set up a COVID-19 monitoring and approval team that will enforce compliance before any game will be played”.
Aduda warned that the Nigerian domestic league would not resume until basic conditions are fulfilled. “We have a responsibility to enforce the implementation of the club licensing control as stipulated in the statute setting-up the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL). The domestic League will not commence until the regulations and controls bothering 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 endeavour and among others”.
The statement directed the NFF to communicate the decisions to the clubs to forestall any crisis.