President of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick has played down the possibility of staging the 2020 Aiteo Cup (Federations Cup) tournament and the NFF Awards this year due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview conducted by Arise TV and monitored by The Athletic|NG, Pinnick said the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus crisis makes it difficult to ascertain when the events will hold.
Pinnick said, “If you notice, we ought to have started the Federation Cup (Aiteo Cup) but we don’t know if that can be possible again this year because we dont know when this will end.”
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He added that even if the Aiteo cup will be held, it will take an abridged format and the NFF Awards will be rather conservative and toned-down due to insufficiency of funds.
He emphasised that the federation and it’s sponsor, Aiteo Group of Companies, will have to sit and restrategise on the way forward but that will not be done until after there is no case of coronavirus in Nigeria.
“They can come up with the condition and say, even if it is going to be an abridged version this is the amount we are going to pay. We have to sit down and renegotiate and that’s if it is going to hold.
Amaju Pinnick also disclosed that the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino was invited as special guest to attend the 2020 NFF Awards to celebrate the 1999 Super Falcons who qualified for the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“The Aiteo Cup and NFF Awards are sponsored by the company and we wrote to the FIFA President to be our guest because we want to celebrate Super Falcons for the first time.
“The set that went and qualified to the quarterfinals of the 1999 World Cup. Just a whisker they would have qualified to the semifinals. So we want to celebrate them because female football is a big deal in Nigeria.
“This year, the NFF Awards is all female football. But we dont know if that is going to be held. Even if it will hold it will not be as we would have wanted it to be”.
“Coronavirus is taking a toll on global sports. After all these, we should be able to sit down and take a cue from FIFA and the federal government plans.