The Federal Government on Thursday says it has not lifted the ban on contact sports, including football, amid preparations by Nigeria Professional Football League clubs ahead of the 2020/21 season.
PTF had only removed restrictions on non-contact sports, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, said this while answering questions at a press briefing in Abuja.
He said “On the issue, I’m a football fan, but sadly, we have not allowed contact sports at the moment. We have only allowed non-contact sports, and so, football is not included. All those football fans, it’s not yet time, but we are looking at this, and we will continue relaxing when the time comes and it is safe to do so,”
The National Coordinator said nothing had changed in sports, insisting that only non-contact sports were allowed to hold, but the PTF’s implementation guidelines for the phase three of eased lockdown, granted permission for resumption of sporting leagues without fans, which caused confusion amongst football stakeholders.
He stated “Restriction is removed on outdoor communal (non-contact) sports and use of recreational parks for supervised physical exercise; and sporting leagues to resume with no fans in stadiums and with necessary NPIs to be directed by the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development and the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control),”
However, Secretary of the Club Owners Association, Alloy Chukwuemeka, told The PUNCH last week, “There is a bit of confusing information from the PTF. The document they released said all leagues should resume without fans, but the video of the press briefing is something different.”
Meanwhile, some players in the NPFL have lamented the latest twist.