The Nigerian Professional Football League was suspended in March due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 but the Chairman of the LMC sees a brighter future for the league.
Alhaji Shehu Dikko, who doubles as one of the vice chairmen of the Nigerian Football Federation and the Chairman, League Management Company (LMC) has said Nigerian football will come out stronger after the COVID-19 crisis is over.
In a WhatsApp group chat with journalists, Dikko, while answering their questions said it is still very unclear when the league will resume given that they are not working alone on the COVID-19 crisis since it is a worldwide pandemic and that FIFA and CAF will provide guidelines and also it heavily depends on how the spread in Nigeria will be.
In his words, Alhaji Dikko said, “It is a global matter and we are being guided on what FIFA, CAF will direct and also how our domestic situation develops.
“We are hopeful Nigeria will conquer this pandemic soonest and we get our lives back to normal and get the green light to resume football. Then we will appraise where we are and decide what to do.”
When asked on how the COVID-19 crisis will impact football in the country, he said, “Well, honestly the pandemic is affecting the league just as it’s affecting everything across the globe. Sports industry is generally one of the worst hit in this as many things are time bound and even the finances are structured as such.
“We van see how global football leagues that we all thought are beyond shock have all been distorted especially financially, organizationally and legally among others things.
“We too are on the same boat, though not to their level. For example, the second tranche of investment from Next TV was due the week the league was suspended as the investors and all had to delay, now including preparation for commencement of test runs of the broadcast.
“We have overdue payables from others, which we can’t get now until all is sorted. We have seen how sponsors and broadcast partners are withholding payments due across the and we can’t be an exception.”
The Nigerian Professional Football League was over the half way point before the hiatus and with the Nigerian government extending the lockdown for another fortnight, it is unclear when players will return to training before the league will restart.