Sunday, August 02, 2009

NPL Kick Off Date Faces Delay

The commencement date of the 2009/2010 Nigeria Premier League (NPL) season could be delayed further than the proposed date of September 19 could face a hitch.
After the Premier League congress in Makurdi between July 21 and 23, the 20 clubs taking part in next season’s campaign and the league board agreed initially to August 30 as kick off date tentatively, but it has emerged that September 19 has been proposed should the initial date become difficult to meet.
But fresh facts have emerged that the Premier League season could be delayed further than anticipated owing to indications that some of the participating clubs are yet to sort out issues of outstanding signing-on fees, salaries and match bonuses.
It is understood that the NPL met with the 20 clubs and advised them to pay up outstanding arrears owed their players and officials before the start of the new season so as to avoid frictions when the campaign gets underway on the proposed date.
After the deliberation with the clubs, it was agreed that the date of August 30 as kick off date would no longer be feasible since most of the clubs scheduled to compete in next season’s Premier League could not assure that they would settle outstanding debts of their players and officials.
The development prompted a shift in the kick off date from August 30 to September 19.
In spite of the shift in kick off date, there are still huge doubts that the clubs would meet up with the September 19 commencement date for the Premier League.
A top official of one of the northern clubs told our correspondent in confidence that the financial situation at his club is not healthy and the state government, which is its chief and sole financier is currently faced with a lot of burning issues that require so much money.
He added that the current global crisis in the financial market that is biting hard on the economy of Nigeria is also taking its toll on the state.
But an NPL official, who does not want his name quoted, told our correspondent that a number of clubs are culprits in owing their players and officials, and even disclosed that the sums are huge and date to two seasons ago.
“Some of these clubs are owing their players and officials so much money and I wonder how they would be able to pay them. Even if the state governments release money to them, it will be difficult to pay the players and officials and then resume next season cash-strapped,” the Premier League board official hinted.
But he explained that the NPL wants to device a means by which the outstanding debts would be paid to the players and officials of clubs found guilty of the act of indebtedness.

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