Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, says the Nigeria Professional Football League must kick off next weekend.
Dare stated this during an interaction session with the media in Lagos on Friday.
While expressing his disappointment at the poor state of the league, Dare said only teams who met the clubs licencing regulations would be allowed to play.
Our football development needs chart a new trajectory, we need to run a proper football development that is beyond putting together 22 players for the Super Eagles and win a football game,” Dare told journalists in Lagos.
It must be beyond bringing players to win games and qualify for major tournaments. We must have the whole gamut, which is a football culture.
“Our domestic league has been struggling badly and there are clear indications. We have addressed these indicators working with the NFF, because there are two part ways of dictating and insisting from those in charge of our football administration to do the right thing. It is only when that has not been done with a clear timeline that we can take more drastic steps.
We have gone to the ministry of licencing and financial regulations and we insisted that the NPFL and the NWPL will not start until the clubs are made to meet these regulations as stated in the statutes of FIFA and the NFF.
“In the last three years those rules have been flouted completely. Eighty per cent of the clubs are owned by the government and if they want their clubs to play in the league they must play by the football rules.
Even if we end up with six clubs, we will start the NPFL season. We have written to the government and the clubs that all what we are doing is just enforcement – an aspect which is very critical.
“I have spoken to the NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, twice last week and I spoke to him today (Friday) that before this year ends our league must start December 27.”
It remains to be seen if provisions will be made for COVID-19 testing for players and officials before the league starts, as coronavirus cases have risen in the last seven days.
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