League management gets knocked over 2023/2024 NPFL postponement

Posted : 22 August 2023
As the Management of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) announced the postponement of the 2023/2024 season, stakeholders have continued to condemn the move.

Some of the stakeholders in an interview with Africa Sport Network (ASN) contended that the postponement would have ripple effect on the integrity of the league.

ASN recalls that the management of NPFL had postponed the resumption of the 2023/2024 NPFL season by two weeks.

The start of the 2023-24 Nigeria Professional Football League season has been engorged in mild drama and criticisms following recent reports from the League’s Board on shifting the resumption date two weeks further from the initially proposed August 26th.

At a consultative meeting with Club Owners on Aug. 3, the Gbenga Elegbeleye-led board had proposed two league formats for the 2023-24 Nigeria Professional Football League season, to the Club Owners and stakeholders present.

The options were the Abridged League consisting of two groups of 10 clubs apiece in an 18-MatchDay season or a linear marathon format of all 20 clubs playing home and away in a 38-MatchDay campaign, as the floor indicated their preferences.

However, the stakeholders were favourably disposed to the linear league format after which it was later announced that the league had been put on hold for two weeks.

The Secretary of Club Owners of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Enakhena had given insights into the reasons the kick off date of the 2023/2024 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) was postponed.

Enakhena who is also the Chairman of newly promoted NPFL team Sporting Lagos revealed that the decisions to postpone the league resumption was made to give room for the streaming arrangements of Propel Africa.

Enakhena added: “It is better to start later when well prepared than to start haphazardly.

“The Club Owners were presented in Abuja with both options presented before us for running the new league season, and we all indicated our choices.

“Propel Sports Africa who are League partners also needed to secure enough bandwidth to host the League games on their streaming platforms, so, the stakeholders were all carried along in the overall decisions,” he added.

The NPFL Board also considered the clubs representing the league on the continent in the CAF Champions League qualifiers, such as Remo Stars and Enyimba FC, facing Ghanian champions Madeama FC and Lybia’s Al Ahly Benghazi FC respectively, on Aug. 20 and the next on Aug. 26.

NPFL accordingly proposed a new resumption date for the League which was put at September, while the draws for the fixtures has been postponed from Thursday, Aug. 17 to 24 after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Aug. 24.

In response to the postponement, Banji Oyawole with Plus Media said Nigeria needed to do better in terms of organisation of non complex programmes like the league.

``We should start learning how to organise ourselves to non complex programmes and competitions like the league. What is so serious about a league for just 20 teams?

``The management of the league have not shown enough seriousness in organising the league, because the reason they gave for the postponement of the league sounds flimsy.

``How can we be talking about non availability of coverage equipment when the league is about to start? Afterall, we have more than a month period for the company that got the live match coverage contract or partners to get their acts together.

``While many Nigerians are in high spirit of having the league start, the management decided to dash their hopes,'' he claimed.

Another Sport enthusiast, Bamidele Olujimi said that aligning the league with European league season's calendar was a welcome development which the league management had put clog on the wheel with the postponement.

``They promised to align the NPFL season's calendar with the European states, yet, the league has started in the European countries, while our own in Nigeria has been suspended.

``The intending fans are now busy watching the Europeans league at the expense of our local league, what if we have started our league and the fans are watching it, won't that be a plus for the viewership?

``Now that our fans are engrossed with other league, we will be struggling to have them watch our own and that does not make any sense to me,'' he said.

A Nigeria National League (NNL) club owner, Giant Brillas of Owerri, Joe Igbokwe told ASN that the club owners were not properly briefed before the postponement.

``The League Management made a mistake by not having the Annual General Meeting (AGM) before they announced the postponement of the league. The postponement should have come after the deliberations at the AGM.

``The League Management decided to only consult with the partners who are in charge of broadcast rights and then postponed the league because they are not ready.

``We are aware that most clubs in Nigeria are owned by the government where they get their budget from, however there should have been a right channel of communications before decisions were made,'' he said. 


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