The major decision makers in Nigerian football yesterday upheld the Points Per Game System (PPG) earlier adopted by the League Management Company (LMC) and the Club Owners Association to end the 2019/2020 Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) season.
On Monday, representatives of the LMC and the Club Owners met in a virtual parley where they voted to use the PPG system to determine placements on the league table. But shortly after the meeting, Lobi Stars and Akwa United protested the decision, saying it was aimed at favouring some clubs.
This prompted the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and other bodies to call for a fresh parley to resolve the issues raised by the dissenting parties.
However, in yesterday’s virtual meeting attended by NFF representatives, led by its President, Amaju Pinnick, the two Vice Presidents and the NFF Secretary General, Sanusi Mohammed, as well as representatives of the 20 clubs in the NPFL and some officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, the stakeholders voted to uphold the earlier decision ‘because it is the only possible way to end the season.’
Pleading anonymity, a source told newsmen: “This time around 18 clubs voted for the PPG system as opposed to the 17 that voted on Monday. Lobi Stars was among those that voted for it as things became clearer to them.
“The NFF will now brief the Sports Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare, on the outcome of the meeting to set the records right.”
The 2019/2020 season was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, which brought the sporting world to a complete standstill until a few weeks ago, when European football gradually returned.
On Monday, a top official of the LMC told newsmen the stakeholders “looked at all the available options and chose the PPG system, which is what other leagues in the same situation across the world have adopted.
“Somebody suggested a Super Six play-off to decide winners and teams to be relegated, but we didn’t take that option because it is not possible in the current situation.”
He said it would have been unfair to those clubs with outstanding matches if the current table was adopted when they had played fewer games than others.
Enyimba, which was fifth on the table with 36 points, had five outstanding matches before the competition was called off.
The leaders, Plateau United, Rivers United and Lobi Stars respectively, had 49, 45 and 43 points from 25 matches, while Rangers on the fourth spot had 37 points from 24 matches.
On why no team was relegated and none promoted, the source said it was difficult to determine teams to go down when there were still 13 round of matches remaining in the 2019/2020 season.
“The difference between the team in the sixth position and the one on the 19th position is seven points. We still have 13 matches to play.
“The NNL has played only five matches, with some on only three games…. so, it will be wrong to promote teams based on only five games. They had not played up to 50 per cent of the matches before games were called off.”
“Everything we did has been done in other countries with the same situation as ours.”