COVID-19 Affects NFF/LMC Revenues, Shehu Dikko Declares
With all football activities suspended, the Coronavirus pandemic has affected the revenue base of both the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and its affiliated League Management Company (LMC).
This much was the explanation of NFF Vice President Shehu Dikko who doubles as the LMC’s chairman, when pressed if there would be any stimulus for Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) clubs post COVID-19 catharsis.
Dikko said the LMC is studying the situation as per COVID-19, adding the body can only take far reaching decisions on the NPFL when there is normalcy.
“For now, we cannot take any decisions on the league as we have to keep monitoring to see how the Situation evolves,” Dikko explained in an interview with NationSport. “For now, the only focus is to support government and public health authorities to ensure this novel coronavirus pandemic is contained, prevented and subsequent eliminated.”
It would be recalled that the LMC suspended NPFL matches after MatchDay 25 with Plateau United at the top of the rack with 49 points closely followed respectively by Rivers United and Lobi Stars with 45 and 43 points.
Dikko was coy on the likelihood of declaring Plateau United league winners should the 2019/2020 season is inconclusive as a result of coronavirus: “When we get all clear from public authorities to resume (the league) we will then review the possibilities and decide what steps to take and also in consideration of what decisions CAF and FIFA comes with on the international competitions, international match calendar, transfer windows, and other regulatory issues.
“But at the ends we will ensure we take the right decisions and we have so many options we are looking at and studying at the moment but we can only take a firm decision when we have some clarity.”
Meanwhile, Dikko was clear about how much COVID-19 has eroded the revenue base of the LMC, praying the body won’t be in dire situation to the extent of declaring for bankruptcy.
“The entire situation (COVID-19) has huge impact on NFF and especially LMC with regard to revenues and sponsors but we still analysing the situation and see steps to take,” he affirmed. “ You can see it’s a global matter with several big clubs asking for reductions in player salaries and the rest so that they can keep going as business concern, so it’s not an issue I can make a categorical statement on until we can have a full assessment and see the possibilities.”
Dikko agreed that there is growing concerns over finances of clubs and sporting associations.
“It shows how grave the situation,” Dikko further said with news that USA Rugby filed for bankruptcy because its financial woes have been exacerbated by the coronavirus shutdown. “If Barcelona is asking for 70% discount from its players and Juve asking for 50%; then we all must be careful and shows no one is immune.