Ahead of the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League season kick off, the Club Owners Association has confirmed their agreement on the relegation of eight teams at the end of the season.
The confirmation was contained in the resolution passed at an emergency joint meeting of the Club Owners and the League Management Company at Hotel Reno, Abuja, on Friday, January 11, 2019, before the season opener this weekend.
“The meeting accepted the proposed relegation of eight (8) teams from the NPFL at the end of the abridged league with four teams each from the two groups while 4 teams shall be promoted from the NNL to revert to the regular NPFL 20-team format in the 2019/2020 season,” the Stakeholders announced in a communique jointly signed by the Club Owners and the LMC.
Others decisions reached include the abridging of the completion with two groups of 12 clubs each, the organisation of a Super 6 playoff at which the league winners shall emerge and the promotion of four teams from the Nigeria National League.
“The Meeting accepted the proposed Six-team play off at the end of the abridged league for the top three teams from each of the two groups to determine the Champion of the league for the season and also determine the second and third placed teams to represent the country at CAF Club competitions.”
Pointing out that the issue of refereeing was of major concern to the clubs, the Club Owners appealed to the Nigeria Football Federation to concede greater authority to the LMC on the appointment and sanction of referees with a recommendation of five years ban on erring referees.
“The Meeting requested the Nigeria Football Federation NFF to grant the request for more participation of the LMC in the matter of referees placement and disciplinary matters with the objective to subsequently ensure more involvement in the management of refereeing matters for the league in line with best international practices to guarantee and sustain quality officiating for the league.
“The meeting identified officiating as one of the biggest challenges facing the league system and therefore resolved that any erring referee shall be withdrawn from the league for a minimum of 5years aside other disciplinary measures to be taken by the NFF Referees committee.”
In a show of sportsmanship, the club owners gave concession for the postponement of the opening games of the newly promoted clubs, Bendel Insurance FC, Remo Stars, Gombe United and Kada City FC, to enable them rest after only recently concluding their campaign in the NNL Super 8 from where they emerged. They are to commence their NPFL action from Match Day 3.
The new clubs were further allowed more time in the window for the recruitment and registration of players.