NPFL

Opening day derbies as LMC release fixtures for 2020/21 NPFL season

EXCLUSIVE! 2020/21 NPFL season to commence December

The League Management Company, LMC, has released provisional fixtures for the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, season starting with big derbies in the opening weekend.

The new season will start on Sunday, December 6, 2020.

Last season table-toppers Plateau United will begin their campaign at home against Kwara United, with Abdul Maikaba’s men still in search of a temporary home following LMC’s unapproval of the New Jos Stadium.

Fans will be entertained with great derbies starting with Ibom Derby between Akwa United and Dakkada FC at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

Enyimba will play host to neighbours Abia Warriors at the Enyimba International Stadium in the Abia Derby.

Other fixtures of the opening weekend will see Enugu Rangers travelling to Port Harcourt to face Rivers United, Adamawa United will host Kano Pillars, Katsina United welcomes Heartland FC, Nasarawa United will host Wikki Tourists of Bauchi.

Jigawa Golden Stars will welcome Sunshine Stars, FC Ifeanyi Ubah plays Kabiru Dogo’s Lobi Stars while MFM will play Warri Wolves in Lagos.

The Athletic NG last week broke the news that the new season will commence in December after some clubs pleaded for more time to meet up with the requirement for participation. The clubs are expected to have the sum of N200 million in their coffers before they are allowed to play.

COMMENTS

The 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season will begin on the first weekend of December 2020 after the League Management Company (LMC) met with clubs.

It was reported last month that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had set a tentative date of November 15 for the resumption of the league season, with clubs urged to meet conditions for participation.

The Athletic NG understands the earlier mentioned date (November 15) is not realistic as clubs will not be ready to resume this month.

A source close to the LMC reliably informed The Athletic NG that some of the clubs are unable to meet the demands set by the league organising body and have pleaded for more time.

After communications with some clubs, the LMC has decided to give them two weeks to finalise preparations and meet all the necessary requirements.

“For the new season to begin, the LMC has instructed every club to have N200 million in their bank accounts,” a source told The Athletic NG.

“The money is to ensure that at least it covers players and staff welfare and salaries, traveling and other logistics which will help eradicate the issue of unpaid salaries and bonuses.”

The Athletic NG understands that some clubs in the NPFL are unable to meet the N200 million demand and have asked for more time (precisely, two weeks), starting from Monday, November 9.

The LMC will announce fixtures for the new season next week ahead of a possible resumption in December after meeting with key stakeholders.

Speaking on the kick-off of the league in September, the LMC reminded clubs on the need to comply with the club licensing regulations, adding, “there will be enhanced, robust and comprehensive implementation of these regulations, as well as other NPFL participation conditions, as enshrined in the NPFL rule book and other extant applicable documents.”

Meanwhile, 10 teams will likely start the season away from home due to the unapproval of their home stadiums for the new season.

They include: Kano Pillars, Plateau United, MFM, Sunshine Stars, Warri Wolves, Enugu Rangers, Abia Warriors, Nasarawa United, Yobe Desert Stars and FC Ifeanyi Ubah.

The Sani Abacha Stadium, home of Kano Pillars has not been approved for the new 2020/2021 NPFL season
The Sani Abacha Stadium, home of Kano Pillars has not been approved for the new 2020/21 NPFL season

The LMC last month approved 13 stadiums across the country, who have been certified to have met minimum requirements to host games ahead of the 2020/21 NPFL season.

The 13 approved Stadiums include Teslim Balogun Stadium (Lagos), Godswill Akpabio Stadium (Uyo), Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium (Benin City), Stephen Keshi Stadium (Asaba) and Okigwe Township Stadium.

Other stadiums that met the requirements are Abubakar Tafawa Stadium (Bauchi) Gombe Township Stadium (Pantami), Aper Aku Stadium (Makurdi), Ahmadu Bello stadium (Kaduna), Enyimba International stadium (Aba), Muhammad Dikko Stadium (Katsina) and Ilorin Township Stadium.

Listed for upgrade and repair works are 11 Stadiums but with Umuahia Township Stadium and Dutse Township Stadium recommended for complete remodelling and reconstruction.

The rest were listed as requiring repairs varying from relaying of new synthetic grass, regressing, provision of floodlights, television camera platforms and upgrade of changing rooms as well as provision of additional exit and entry gates among other basic requirements.

They are Sani Abacha Stadium (Kano), Agege Stadium (Lagos ), Akure Township Stadium (Akure), Warri Township Stadium (Warri), New Jos Township Stadium (Jos), Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium (Enugu).

The rest are Lafia Township Stadium, Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium (Nnewi), Fufure Stadium (Yola), which will be inspected for certification after construction work has been completed.

The 2019/20 NPFL season was cancelled in August, with the Points Per Game format used to determine league positions after the league had initially been suspended in March after match-day 25, following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

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Copyright 2020 The Athletic NG. Permission to use this article or any part of it is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.theathletic.com.ng as the source.

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