Hello everyone, good morning, and welcome to a brand new week. In the real sense, the week started yesterday according to our calendar and I am happy to be back.
First of all, let me sincerely apologise on behalf of The Athletic NG, we had difficulties over the weekend with some technical issues that affected our job. These things are expected to happen since there are man-made, but we are exploring other alternatives to see how to overcome the hassle. Thank you for your understanding.
So, what have we missed in the last two days?
Hahaha! In Nigeria, we must always have something trending. The Nigeria Football Association, NFF, is set to benefit with a huge N194 million as palliative from FIFA, who themselves are sharing a whopping $150 million to member associations.
The football ruling body said it will give $500,000 (that’s about N194,753,588.65) to the 211 member associations to help cushion the effect of COVID-19.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement released on the FIFA website: “The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the entire football community and, as the world governing body, it is FIFA’s duty to be there and support the ones that are facing acute needs. This starts by providing immediate financial assistance to our member associations, many of which are experiencing severe financial distress.
“This is the first step of a far-reaching financial relief plan we are developing to respond to the emergency across the whole football community. Together with our stakeholders, we are we assessing the losses and we are working on the most appropriate and effective tools to implement the other stages of this relief plan.”
FIFA also said the financial assistance should be focus on helping each association settle mitigating the financial impact of the COVID-19.
“This immediate financial assistance should be used to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 on football in member associations, namely to meet financial or operational obligations that they may have towards staff and other third parties. The standard obligations and responsibilities in relation to the use of these funds as outlined in the Forward 2.0 Regulations remain fully applicable and will be subject to the standard audit and reporting process.”
That is well thought of by FIFA. The problem here is, we don’t trust the government and their parastatals, including the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, with due to respect to the board and others involved in managing football and other sports in the country.
No one should blame Nigerians for being skeptical about their government. The financial assistance is to help countries settle any financial obligations within the federation which includes all national teams, Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, Nigeria Women Football League, NWFL, Nigeria National League, NNL, state FAs, and others.
The League Management Company, LMC, recently said that privately-owned clubs will be given priorities if they receive any help. Their prayers are answered and in the premier league, we have two private-owned clubs in MFM FC and Ifeanyiubah.
The football community in Nigeria is keenly watching to see how the distribution of these funds, when it gets to the NFF, will be utilized.
Palliatives in Nigeria have been heard, but in some places not seen, so fingers crossed this will not fall into wrong hands.
I’ve gone political on this one. We have cheering news across the world regarding football. Italy, which is one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic, has just announced through the country’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte that football clubs can resume training next month. This follows the announcement in England that Arsenal will resume training this week and the English Football Association has submitted a detailed report to the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to be approved for football to return in the country.
Folks, as I’ve said before, the world is winning this fight against COVID-19, but you and I must play our part to ensure this victory is achieved. Football might resume with matches played behind closed doors, but that is fine when you consider there is no football for almost two months now.
Also, there is a report in the UK that Liverpool will investigate the Uefa Champions League match between the Merseyside club and Atletico Madrid which had more than 50,000 fans in attendance at Anfield, 3,000 making the trip from Madrid, as it relates to spreading of the coronavirus in England.
Let’s hope for more good news in the coming days, but in Nigeria, confirmed cases by the NCDC is on the rise, with the latest 91 new cases added to the 1,182 to make it 1,273, with 239 persons discharged and the death toll rising to 40. God will help us.
That is how far I can go this morning. All the latest stories will be on the main website, but until then, stay at home to stay alive.
See you tomorrow.