The League Management Company (LMC) has confirmed December 27 as the commencement date for the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) 2020/2021 season.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian top league had suffered series of postponements due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The league organiser said the commencement date was arrived at after consultations with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the participating football clubs and Redstrike Media Group UK, the league’s commercial rights holder.
The federal government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development was also briefed in this regard which included steps to be taken to ensure full compliance with the mandatory COVID-19 protocols.
LMC said the absolute need to ensure appropriate compliance with clubs licensing regulations among other requirements resulted in the delay in commencing the league as envisaged.
LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko, said huge progress had been made, especially in the area of the infrastructure upgrade, noting that the support of the NFF and the sports ministry had been critical in attaining this level of compliance.
He added; “In line with the core objectives of the LMC-Redstrike partnership which is to repackage and reposition the NPFL as one of the best football leagues on all parameters, Redstrike Group has engaged a reputable and experienced production company from Europe which will deploy state-of-the-art facilities and other equipment for the television production of matches and activities of the NPFL to meet world class standards.
“The LMC has proposed N75m for the winner, N50m for the first runner-up and N35m for the third placed team while other clubs will earn prize monies based on their final positions on the league table.”
The LMC said other programs and branding strategies to increase the excitement value of the league would be unveiled in due course. These include the return of bonuses to clubs for away wins, away draws, getting more than 5,000 fans for home matches, featuring U-18 players, stadium maintenance support, etc.
“There’s no doubt that exciting times lie ahead for all football lovers in Nigeria who have long yearned to have matches and activities of NPFL made readily available to them by streaming and broadcast on other platforms, including the traditional TV,” Dikko said.