English Premier League giants, Arsenal FC, have cancelled the proposed friendly match with the Super Eagles of Nigeria, scheduled for August 5, and “reluctantly” postponed their planned trip to Nigeria for their pre-season preparation.
Arsenal said it was taking the decision because of the complexities linked to the planned game against the Super Eagles. The London club’s marketing director, Angus Kinnear, said on its official website that the decision was unfortunate.
“Bringing a top-level club to an international market is always complicated and logistically challenging,” Mr. Kinnear said.
“With the proposed match in Nigeria planned for early August, we could not get comfortable on everything needed to satisfy our requirements, so we have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the team’s visit,” he added.
The marketing director stated that Arsenal has “a huge and loyal following in Africa,” and “are sorry that the team will not be visiting this summer.”
“However, we have a long-term commitment to Nigeria and we are already making plans for a visit next summer,” he said.
“In addition, we also have some exciting forthcoming activities planned with our commercial partners in Nigeria – Emirates, Airtel and Malta Guinness, which will kick off in the next few weeks,” Mr. Kinnear said.
Emirates are the official sponsor of Arsenal, and the presenting partner of the Arsenal 2012 Tour.
Boutros Boutros, the divisional senior vice-president, corporate communications of Emirates said that “Emirates shares Arsenal’s disappointment that the team’s visit to Nigeria has been postponed. We look forward to working with Arsenal to bring the Club closer to its loyal Nigerian fans through new initiatives over the coming months.”
The news comes as a big blow to millions of soccer loving Nigerians, particularly fans of Arsenal FC, who had hoped to see one of the most successful English clubsides play against the national team in Abuja.