‘No plan for Nigerian football clubs to pay for COVID-19 testing’

Shehu Dikko, Chairman of the League Management Company, LMC,
Shehu Dikko, Chairman of the League Management Company, LMC,

The chairman of the League Management Company, Shehu Dikko, has said there are no plans yet for the Nigeria Professional Football League clubs to foot the bills of having their players and officials tested for coronavirus.

The official said this via a tweet on Tuesday following reports suggesting that the 20 NPFL clubs could not afford a combined N50 million for the tests, per game, if the league resumes as planned.

“This is a story in the imagination of the writer anyway as LMC or NFF or sport ministry never said so or discussed this with anybody or proposed for any club to pay for any testing when and if the need arises talk less of doing testing before every match,” Mr Dikko wrote.

Before now, the Minister for Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, had hinted fans will not be allowed into match venues to watch the outstanding games in the NPFL if moves to conclude the season pulls through as expected.

Though there are still dark clouds surrounding the resumption of the NPFL, the minister said there are certain things that would not be compromised once modalities for restarting the league is agreed upon.

The NPFL, like many leagues across the world, was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic but life is gradually returning to the major leagues across the world.

The sports minister had in an interview with Brila FM, said players and coaches of all NPFL clubs must undergo tests before the league could resume.

“There will be no compromise on certain things when it comes to the health code, there will be no compromise,” Mr Dare said. “I can tell you, there will be no audience participation; content will have to be beamed through radio, television and other means.”

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“Tests will be conducted on the players and the coaches as the case may be and I don’t see us having multiple venues. We might think of centres to have all the other games.

“I don’t know what they are going to bring forward. I’m just rolling out a few guidelines that I think must guide the return of the league,” he added.

Plateau United with 49 points are top on the NPFL log after 25 games. They enjoy a four-point lead over second-placed Rivers United and six points over third-placed Lobi Stars.

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