NPFL 2022/2023 Season: Nigeria’s football authorities, Club Owners on war path
By Abdulgafar Oladimeji
Nigeria ‘s football league organizers, Interim Management Committee, IMC are set for a head on collision with the club owners ,over how to execute the in pending 2022/2023 league season.
The duo are entangled in a war of words over the proper formula to adopt come next season.
The warring parties are brandishing weapons for a show down, after failed negotiationscould not bring the conflicting parties to adopt an agreed league format.The club owners in a missive title “Notice To Member Clubs” said
“This is to bring to your notice that we are in receipt of the above circular inviting clubs for the 2023 NPFL draws on abridged league format.
“Consequently, I wish to further inform members and state categorically that this is not in consonance with the joint decision of clubs and IMC at the last meeting of Wednesday 21st Dec 2022 whereby it was agreed inter-alia that the abridged league proposed by IMC and the straight league which was overwhelmingly proposed by the clubs would be communicated to NFF by the IMC for further necessary action.
The statement signed by the chairman, Club Owners Association , Isaac Danladi Esq, further said “ We are therefore perplexed and amazed that just few hours after the meeting, IMC came up with a circular fixing 28th December as date for draws based on abridge league format.
Adding that “We wish to categorically dissociate ourselves with the circular and state firmly that clubs would not be part of the draws on 28th December 2022, neither would we participate in an abridged league.
Danladi then warned that “The clubs remain resolute in our quest to have a better league that will endure, hence we cannot be part of an arrangement that will not be beneficial to football development in Nigeria.
“In view of the above, a meeting of the club Owners is being proposed for 28th December 2022 in Asaba Delta state to review matters arising among other things.
“Details of the meeting and other logistics will be announced soonest, please.” Danladi stated
He said “We appreciate members for their patience and good conducts since this saga started.
The Interim Management Committee, IMC charged with running the league have described the position taken by the club owners as disruptive and ungentlemanly.
The chairman IMC, Gbenga Elegbeleye is quoted in an interview on Kennis radio saying that arrangements have been completed to conduct the NPFL league draws next Wednesday 27th December 2022.
He explained that the committee has a mandate from Nigeria Football Federation, NFF to accomplish the season to tally with continental football governing body CAF’s calendar.
He stressed that the concept to conduct an abridged league is to help end the league in May to ease the submission of the names of Nigerian club sides that will feature on the continental scene next season.
Elegbeleye alleged that the clubs were allowed the chance to make submission on their choice league format.
“They suggested that we should play a full league and submit the names of the top four on the table any time CAF request for the names” he said the committee rejected the suggestion since it is devoid of merit.
He said the clubs then proceed to suggest again that the clubs that represented Nigeria last season should be resubmitted , he said the committee rejected the suggestion on the grounds that it is against the spirit of competition.
The IMC boss insisted that the committee is under strict instruction from NFF that they should conclude the league in May, citing that 2023 is election year , it will be risky for players to ply the roads during the periods, under which there are general restriction of movements across the country, Elegbeleye posit.