Breaking News: 2019-20 NPFL season cancelled without promotion or relegation

Published on: 10 July 2020

The Nigerian football governing body made the announcement on Friday after an online meeting between its executive committee and the league board, according to Goal.com

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have made the decision to cancel the 2019-20 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The top-flight was initially suspended on March 18 after matchday 25, as part of preventive measures to control the spread of Covid-19 in the West African country.

Almost four months after its suspension, the NFF held an online meeting which had in attendance its executive committee, national league chairpersons and the president of the Nigeria

 During the meeting, it was approved that the current NPFL season should end at matchday 25 and the teams should be ranked by Points Per Game (PPG), with the top three teams automatically qualified for the 2020-21 Caf Inter-club competitions (two slots for Champions League and a slot for Confederation Cup).

It was also agreed that the 2020-21 Nigerian top-flight campaign, still subject to the approval of health authorities, will start between September and October 2020, and then end in May 2021.

“The league ends at current Matchday 25 and the Points Per Game (PPG) table will be used to rank the teams in order to ensure sporting merit and sporting fairness,” a statement from the NFF read.

“The names of the Top 3 (three) clubs on the NPFL final PPG table as at Matchday 25 shall be submitted to CAF to represent Nigeria in the 2020/2021 Caf inter-Club competitions (2 slots for Caf Champions League and 1 Slot for Caf Confederation Cup).

“There will be no promotion to, or relegation from, NPFL for the 2019/2020 season.

“The NPFL 2020/2021 season will start from September/October 2020 and end May 2021 subject to the full reopening of the country and the approval of the health authorities.”

The Nigerian National League (NNL), which is the second division, was declared null and avoid because it had been on hold since December 2019.

“The NNL 2019/2020 season which is at Matchday 3 - 5 and has been on break since December 17, 2019, is cancelled, null and void,” the statement continued.

“There will be no promotion to, or relegation, from NNL.

“The NNL 2020/2021 season will start from September/October 2020 and end May 2021 subject to the full reopening of the country and the approval of the health authorities.

“The NFF will work with the NNL, the participating clubs and other stakeholders to ensure a successful fresh start from September/October 2020. This will include a review of the NNL structure to optimize its development.”

The Aiteo Federation Cup, which was at the state level before the suspension of football activities in the country, will no longer continue while 2019 winners Kano Pillars will take the second slot in the 2020-21 Caf Confederation Cup.

“The Aiteo Cup 2019/2020 which had only commenced at the State level is aborted,” it added.

“The 2019 Aiteo Cup Winners to be presented to Caf for the 2020/2021 Caf Inter-club competition (Nigeria’s 2nd slot in the Caf Confederation Cup), reserved for Federation Cup winners.

“The Aiteo Cup 2020/2021 season to start from September/October 2020 to end May 2021 subject to the full reopening of the country and the approval of the health authorities.

“All dates for the 2020/2021 season to start are subject to the directives of the Federal Government in line with Covid-19 protocols.

“In addition, the full enforcement of licensing regulations and financial controls for the NPFL will commence from the 2020/2021 season. All clubs are required to comply, failing which they will be barred from participating.”

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