By Adeboye Amosu:
The League Management Company has confirmed that it has agreed with the 20 Club’s involved to declare Lobi Stars winner of the 2017/2018 Nigeria Professional Football League season, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Reports emerged late on Thursday night that the LMC and 20 NPFL clubs following an emergency meeting in Abuja agreed to end the league and declare Lobi Stars winner in order to meet up with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) October 15 deadline for registration of clubs for the Champions League and Confederation Cup.
The NPFL went on break on the eve of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but the resumption date was shelved due to the leadership crisis which rocked the Nigeria Football Federation which has now been resolved following the intervention of the federal government.
Lobi Stars occupy top spot in the table with 43 points from 24 matches.
It would be recalled that in the 2018 NPFL season calendar released in December 2017, the LMC structured the NPFL Calendar for 2018 to commence in January 2018 and end on September 2018 with a break for the 2018 World Cup provided between June 4 to July 18 2018.
The LMC stated that due to the adverse situation the Nigerian football found itself the league could not resume on July 18, 2018 as scheduled which eventually necessitated the foregoing decision.
Here is the detail of some of the decisions reached by the LMC and club owners:
1. Upon consideration of different options (5 possible options were presented), it was unanimously agreed by the 20 NPFL Clubs, that the 2017/2018 season of the NPFL is deemed concluded and the team at the top of the standings – Lobi Stars shall be the representative in the CAF Champions League for 2019 Session starting Nov 2018 to May 2019.
2. No team shall be relegated from the NPFL for 2018 Season.
3. Four Teams shall be promoted to the NPFL from the Nigeria National League (NNL) from the ongoing 2018 season to compete in the 2018/2019 NPFL season.
4. The 2018/2019 NPFL season will commence in November 2018 with a total of 24 participating teams, which shall be divided into two groups of 12 teams each. The 2018/2019 Season commencing November 2018 will be played on 22 Match days ending with a Play off to determine the Winner by May 2019.
5. Three teams from each group (a total of six) will be relegated from the NPFL after the conclusion of the 2018/2019 season, while two teams will be promoted to the NPFL from the NNL 2019 Season. This will allow the NPFL to revert to its normal structure of 20 teams as from the 2019/2020 season.
6. The NFF have also endorsed for the 2019 AITEO CUP to commence from September 2018 to end October 14, 2018. The NPFL Teams would be seeded for the CUP competition and the Winner to represent Nigeria in the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup starting November 2019.
That the above decisions were reached on the basis of Rule B15.23 of the Framework and Rules of the NPFL, which states that:
The above decisions are with the approval of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).