By Boye Ajayi
The Nigerian National League (NNL) Management Board says it will strictly enforce the COVID-19 safety protocols during the forthcoming 2020/2021 National League season, reports Persecondnews.
Sen. Obinna Ogba, (PDP-Ebonyi Central) and Chairman of the board made the assertion on Friday in Abakaiki during the NNL Annual General Meeting to discuss modalities for the league’s commencement among other issues.
Ogba said the league’s management would not compromise on the COVID -19 protocols to ensure the safety of players and officials during the league.
“I have directed the league’s secretariat that tests on COVID -19 must be compulsorily conducted on players and officials and the medical certificates submitted to the board.
“We must assist the Federal Government in checking the spread of Coronavirus and we seek the collaboration of clubs in this regard,” he said.
The NNL board chairman said that he was committed to restoring the dignity of the league by ensuring that games were played according to the rules.
“The years of cutting corners to achieve results are over as we are committed to actively engage the referees’ appointment committee to achieve desired goals.
“We will ensure that only referees with good records and pedigree are appointed to officiate matches because we are here to change narratives.
“We will not hesitate to deal with any match official who compromises during matches and will eradicate any act that will tarnish the league’s image.
“Match officials must be allowed to carry out their duties irrespective of which club is involved as the league’s management will punish any club that intimidates them,” he said.
He described 2020 as a difficult year for football in the country and the world but lauded the resilience shown by football stakeholders to surmount inherent challenges.
“You will agree with me that the number of clubs involved in the league is large to manage without sponsors and therefore, we thank our would be sponsor — Premier Lotto (Baba Ijebu) for sponsoring the AGM.
Mohammed Sanusi, Secretary-General of the Nigerian Football Federation, urged relevant stakeholders in the NNL to cooperate with its management to make the forthcoming season a huge success.
Sanusi, represented by Mr Ayo Addulrahman, commended Premier Lotto for its promising collaboration with the NNL and expressed the hope that it would be the league’s sponsors.
The NNL Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sajo Mohammed, said the board was seeking sponsors to effectively brand the league in achieving set goals.
“I urge the NNL stakeholders to be wary of their attitudes and comments as they can either attract sponsors or scare them,” he said.
Representatives of the Senate President and Premier Lotto among others gave goodwill messages at the occasion as the NNL late former Chairman, Chief Offor Okenwa was also remembered.