The Emergency Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, chaired by the President of NFF, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, has directed the eight Nigerian football clubs seeking promotion to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) to go slug it out in the Super 8 Tournament of the Nigeria National League (NNL) which begins this week.
The clubs include Shooting Stars Sports Club, Gombe United FC, Remo Stars FC, Bendel Insurance FC, Delta Force FC, Kada Stars FC, Real Stars FC and Kogi United. They are expected to arrive Aba where the tournament is scheduled to hold, latest by Wednesday, December 19. It is also expected that the tournament will be concluded by Sunday, December 23 in order for the NNL to present promoted teams to the NPFL for the new season.
The decision was said to have been taken in line with the NNL 2018 Rule Book as well as the propositions of the expanded meeting of chieftains of the NFF, the LMC, the NPFL Clubs, the NNL and NNL Clubs, that the NNL should stage its statutory Super 8 to produce the four teams for NPFL.
The Emergency Committee said it took the decision after careful consideration of the relevant rules and regulations, contemporary best practice and what is obtainable and defensible in the international sphere.
Pinnick implored the various club owners and other investors, promoters and facilitators, as well as the administrators of the two Leagues, to “see the current situation as a consequence of the special circumstances that we found ourselves and consider the best interest of Nigerian Football.”
He said: “Nobody foresaw these special circumstances. Yet, it is only by obeying the rules and regulations, and being guided by global best practice, that we can move forward. Nigerian Football is operating within the international football community, and not an oasis in any desert. The NFF Emergency Committee endorses the resolution of the expanded meeting that the best eight teams in the NNL should contest the Super 8 Tournament, from which the best four teams will be promoted to the Nigeria Professional Football League for the 2018/2019 Season.”
Pinnick further stated that the decision to endorse the NPFL proposal of August 30, 2018 to end the League at Week 24, should be seen for what it is – a measure to deal with an exceptional circumstance to meet up with the deadline for submission of Nigeria’s flagbearer in the CAF Champions League, and the need to redraft the league calendar from August – May as directed by the Confederation of African Football.
“We are calling on stakeholders to see these decisions as the only way of getting out of the special circumstances and forge ahead.”
“I enjoin all the eight qualified teams to endeavour to be in Aba for this tournament, in order to ensure that the LMC has the names of the four teams promoted from the NNL, and go ahead to conduct its draws for the new season.”
The Committee also directed that the NNL must proceed with the tournament as scheduled with the Clubs that report to Aba while stating that disciplinary action would be taken against those who fail to honour their obligations to participate in the Super 8 and the directives of the NFF.
“At the same time, the League Management Company must make best efforts to ensure that all parameters, processes and procedures are set to commence the new Nigeria Professional Football League season before the first day of January, 2019”, Pinnick said.
It would be recalled that the meeting of the NFF Executive Committee, held in Asaba, Delta State on November 20, 2018, had mandated the NFF President to take a decision on the matter having considered the propositions/decisions of an expanded meeting of NFF chieftains and LMC leadership, after a meeting of Administrators and Club Owners of the NNL.