The 20 clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), have expressed readiness to have their players and officials tested for Covid-19 before the kick-off of the 2020/2021 season.
Executive Secretary of the Club Owners Association of Nigeria, Mr. Alloy Chukwuemeka said on Monday that the clubs would do everything humanly possible to comply with the given health guidelines for the Nigerian topflight to resume.
‘Only recently, the Ministry of Sports, through the Permanent Secretary, Gabriel Aduda said despite the decision by the Federal Government to lift the ban on sporting activities, football would only resume, if there is full compliance to Covid-19 measures.
It will be recalled that the government had said football leagues should resume without spectators but didn’t go further to disclose the remaining health safety measures to be complied with before resumption.
However, when contacted, Chukwuemeka said the clubs which are willing to do anything were indeed waiting on the relevant authorities to direct them on what to do.
‘We have not seen the breakdown of the communication. What we heard was that the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 had rolled out the conditions to be met before football leagues would resume and the Ministry of Sports has been mandated to ensure full compliance.
‘So the Sports Ministry will communicate with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the procedure of compliance. The NFF will communicate with the League Management Company (LMC) who would in turn relay the message to the clubs.
‘It is then that we would know, if testing is part of the safety measures given by the government. If that is the case, the clubs would ensure their players and officials are tested for Covid-19,’ he said.
Chukwuemeka also expressed optimism that going by the recent reduction in new cases of Covid-19 in the country, spectators may be allowed into the stadia when the league resumes.
‘If you look at it very well, the statistics of COVID- 19 is drooping every day. There are indications that maybe by the end of the month, there may be no new cases and if there are no new cases, the issue of playing behind closed doors might be overtaken by events,’ said the Director of Football at Abubakar Bukola Saraki FC Ilorin.