The 2018-19 Nigeria Professional Football League season will kick off on 13th January 2019, the League Management Company has revealed.
After two postponements due to an impasse between five Nigeria National League clubs and the Nigeria Football Federation over a promotion playoff, the Nigerian topflight is finally set to kick off.
The regular season, which will feature two groups — each comprising 12 teams — will come to an end after 22 round of matches, on May 12.
According to an official document released by Chief Operating Officer of the LMC, Salihu Abubakar — and made available to sports journalists — a playoff will be held from May 13 to May 25 to determine the league winners.
The NNL promotion playoff, which could not hold due to boycotts, will kickoff at Enyimba Stadium, Aba, “not later than January 3”.
One of the issues cited by the boycotting clubs was shortage of playing personnel.
The LMC Emergency Committee acknowledged the problem, stating “we received letters from Clubs to the effect that they presently do not have enough players to prosecute the tournament. Apparently, most Clubs in the country’s Leagues sign a good number of their players for only one season. These personnel appear to have floated to other Clubs in search of greener pastures.”
To remedy the situation, the committee will allow the “affected” clubs two weeks to strengthen their squads ahead of the playoffs, despite the fact that the transfer window closed yesterday.
The NNL Super 8 playoffs, also known as NNL Super 8, was scheduled to hold in Aba this week. However, only three clubs — Gombe United, Delta Force and Bendel Insurance — showed up at the tournament’s venue; while Real Stars, Kada City, Kogi United, Shooting Stars and Remo Stars all pulled out.
For withdrawing from the playoffs earlier, Remo Stars and the other boycotting clubs may face NFF sanctions.
Meanwhile, the three clubs that arrived Aba for the playoffs will each be awarded ₦2million in compensation•