The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has declared that it has not settled on the system to be used in deciding the 2019/2020, saying it was still consulting widely to arrive at the best possible option.
There were reports on Monday that the Point Per Game (PPG) system has been chosen by the League Management Company (LMC) and the Club Owners Association to decide placements on the league table. However, the NFF yesterday called on the stakeholders to be patient, saying it was working on ways to resolve the issues the best possible way.
“The Nigeria Football Federation has declared that wide consultation is still ongoing as to the format and pattern of foreclosing the 2019/2020 Football Season, including that of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL,” the federation tweeted yesterday.
Football in Nigeria has been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, which brought the sporting world to a complete standstill until a few weeks ago, when European football gradually returned.
At a virtual meeting where a decision to end the season was taken on Monday, Kwara United, Kano Pillars, Katsina United, Jigawa Golden Stars, Adamawa United, Wikki Tourists, MFM, Sunshine Stars, Enyimba, Warri Wolves, Abia Warriors, Nasarawa United, IfeanyiUbah, Dakkada, Heartland, Rivers United and Plateau United voted for the PPG system. Akwa United and Lobi Stars abstained, while Enugu Rangers voted for a play-off to decide the season.
The clubs also voted that no club should be relegated to the lower division or promoted from the second tier league to the topflight. After the exercise, chairman of the Club Owners Association, Isaac Danladi, explained, “We had four options and the viable options were reduced to two, which is stopping the league and calculating the points per game, which is the standard practice because not all teams have played the equal number of games. This will allow the first three teams represent the country on the continent and there will be no promotion and relegation.
“Option B was also to calculate via PPG and go for playoffs with the first six teams in a neutral venue and the first three teams will represent the country on the continent and there will be no promotion and relegation. It’s a done deal we have taken a decision.
“All these options were put into vote, 17 clubs out of 20 opted for Option A, which was to cancel the league, calculate the points per game and let the first three teams represent the country on the continent, and there will be no promotion and relegation.”
However, the PPG system, which has given Plateau United, Enyimba and Rivers United continental slots, has been bitterly criticised by Lobi Stars, who feel they have been shortchanged by the rule.
Lobi Stars rejected the voting process, insisting that the LMC and the club owners conspired against the Makurdi based outfit. This, the LMC has denied. Explaining the decision to choose the PPG system yesterday, a top official of the LMC said all the 20 clubs in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) were involved in the decision to adopt the system.
He added, “Everybody was there when the decision was taken. We looked at all the available options and chose the PPG system, which is what other leagues in the same situation across the world have adopted.
“Somebody suggested a Super Six play-off to decide winners and teams to be relegated, but we didn’t take that option because it is not possible in the current situation.”
On why no team was relegated and none promoted, he said it was difficult to determine teams to go down when there were still 13 round of matches remaining in the 2019/2020 season.
“The difference between the team in the sixth position and the one on the 19th position is seven points. We still have 13 matches to play. “The NNL has played only five matches, with some on only three games…. so, it will be wrong to promote teams based on only five games. “Every we did has been done in other countries with the same situation as ours.”