October, 27 2022.
By Bassey Ibiatisuho
The Vice Chairman of the newly inaugurated Interim Management Committee - IMC of the Nigeria Professional Football League, Elder Paul Bassey has hinted the possibility of beginning the 2022-23 football season with eight stadiums in the country that have met the required standard.
In an interview in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, Elder Bassey explained that the challenges facing the league are enormous and will need serious work and tough decisions to get the league back on steam.
"Going in as the IMC, we have found out that there are lots of work to be done within a very short time in order to organize a better league football next season. We need all the prayers we can get to succeed. Nigerians are so much in a haste to have the league started. We need a league sponsor, the Sports Minister wants the league on TV, the NFF President wants the league on TV, there are some contract that are subsisting, we don't have the details, no proper handing over has been made. We have the case of the referees committee that has to be reconstituted, we have the case of the stadiums that must be looked into."
According to the CAF/FIFA Match Commissioner, while the IMC is working to ensure the return of the league on TV, clubs must upgrade their match venues as the committee will only give approval to stadiums with full requirements while others may have to choose their match venues from the eight approved ones which must be in line with CAF standard.
"If we have our way, we cannot play professional football league in more than eight venues because it's a tragedy that you can come out second in the league but you cannot play in your home ground in CAF competition. Why should the IMC allow clubs to play league matches in venues when at the end of the day CAF will not approve to host continental matches?
" I think we should do things right and give clubs opportunity to upgrade their stadiums to standard. If tomorrow we take a decision on it because we have not yet decided, it's a matter of telling the twenty teams, choose your home ground from the few approved ones."
The IMC Vice Chairman who is also the Chairman of NPFL side, Akwa United said there was also a consideration for an abridge league which the champions will emerge through Super Six playoffs in order to harmonize the Nigeria football calendar with others major leagues in the world.