By Olawale Ayeni, Abuja
The National Council on Sports (NCS) will today hold a virtual meeting to take a final decision on whether to host the 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF) before the end of the year or not.
NCS is the highest policy making body on issues affecting sports in the country. The body, which is chaired by the minister of Youth and Sports Development, is made up of states’ commissioners for sports or its equivalent, and the secretary in charge of sports in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Recall that in March, the Sports minister, Sunday Dare, announced indefinite postponement of the festival, which was initially scheduled to hold from March 22 to April 1 in Benin City, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
It would be noted that despite the ongoing #EndSARS protest across the country, the minister had insisted that the biannual games would go ahead, describing the news report to the effect that the event was postponed indefinitely as fake and unfounded.
Dare, who spoke through a press statement from his media office, said consultations were ongoing between the ministry, Edo state government, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and NCS to decide on a new date to host the festival.
“Like we did by consulting with the PTF on COVID-19 when we lifted the ban on non-contact sports and later contact sports, discussions are ongoing to decide on a new date for the festival. The fake news that the festival has been postponed indefinitely must have emanated from a false source”.
“We are considering a staggered festival spanning several weeks and athletes will be in batches with no fans and there must be strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol”.
“While we are committed to holding the festival, we do not want to endanger the lives of athletes and officials. Be rest assured that a decision would be taken in line with government’s guidelines in the best interest of the common good of our sports and the athletes” he concluded.