The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has abruptly ended the 2019/2020 football season of all leagues in Nigeria.
The country’s football body also announced September/October as the tentative start period for the 2020/2021 football season.
The decision was reached at a virtual Executive Committee meeting of the NFF on Friday, which also had in attendance Chairpersons of all the National Leagues and the President of the Nigeria Referees Association.
The football season was suspended in March due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to a statement issued by Ademola Olajire, NFF spokesperson, on Friday, the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), the country’s top-flight league, ends at current Matchday 25, and the points per game table will be used to rank the teams in order to ensure sporting merit and sporting fairness.
As it stands, Plateau United, Rivers United and Lobi Stars are the top three teams on the table after the last matchday and are in contention to represent Nigeria in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup respectively.
The NFF also confirmed that “there will be no promotion to, or relegation from, NPFL for the 2019/2020 season”.
The football body also confirmed the cancellation of the Nigeria National League (NNL), Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL), National League One and the Aiteo Cup.
The statement partly read: “The NNL 2019/2020 season which is at Matchday 3 – 5 and has been on break since December 17, 2019 is cancelled, null and void. There will be no promotion to, or relegation, from NNL.
“The NFF will work with the NNL, the participating clubs and other stakeholders to ensure a successful fresh start from September/October 2020. This will include a review of the NNL structure to optimize its development.
“The yet-to-commence NWFL and NLO 2019/2020 season is aborted. There will be no promotion to or relegation from NLO.
“The AITEO Cup 2019/2020 which had only commenced at the State level is aborted. The 2019 AITEO Cup Winners to be presented to CAF for the 2020/2021 CAF Inter-Club competition (Nigeria’s 2nd slot in the CAF Confederation Cup), reserved for Federation Cup winners.”
The NFF noted that the commencement of the new football season “is subject to the full reopening of the country and the approval of the health authorities”.
The statement read: “All dates for the 2020/2021 season to start are subject to the directives of the Federal Government in line with COVID-19 protocols.
“In addition, the full enforcement of licensing regulations and financial controls for the NPFL will commence from the 2020/2021 season. All clubs are required to comply, failing which they will be barred from participating.
“The Nigeria Football Federation will formally take the resolutions to the next General Meeting of its Congress for ratification. In the meantime, these resolutions have been formally communicated to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Social Development.”