Npfl: lobi get Champions League ticket

Lobi Stars will represent Nigeria in next season’s CAF Champions League, after they were declared league champions at the end of a joint meeting of representatives of the 20 NPFL clubs and the League Management Company.

The Makurdi side went into the World Cup break as league leaders — two points clear of second-placed Akwa United. The league, which had 14 match days left to play, was slated to resume on July 18.

However, leadership tussle within the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, forced an indefinite postponement.

With CAF requiring member nations to present names of their representatives for next season’s continental competitions in October, the LMC made efforts to conclude the league before the end of October.

And last week, after a joint meeting between clubs and the LMC, there were reports of an agreement to resume the league on Sunday, September 2. The plan, though tentative, was to hold the remainder of the season between September 2 and October 28.

The decision, which was not made public, did not go down with some club managers who complained about the financial and health implications of playing 14 league games within a two-month period. This necessitated an emergency meeting on Friday, where “it was unanimously agreed by the 20 NPFL Clubs” that Lobi Stars will represent Nigeria in next season’s Champions League, while the the winners of the Aiteo Cup, which will be held between September and October, will be Nigeria’s representative in the Confederation Cup.

Decisions reached at the emergency meeting:

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.

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