Nigeria league clubs will continue paying wages

Nigerian football fans always have high hopes... and are often disappointed. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

League clubs in Nigeria will continue to pay wages during the coronavirus lockdown, after the NFF board approved the recommendation of a joint meeting between the League Management Company and the clubs.

Clubs will also ensure testing of all players, officials and staff prior to kickoff of games whenever the league resumes.

Domestic football in Nigeria has been suspended since March 19, after the country's government announced travel restrictions and 'stay at home' orders due to COVID-19.

Clubs have continued to pay wages during that time, but last week, premier league clubs met with league organizers to fashion a way forward. They emerged from the remote meeting with a number of resolutions which were endorsed by the NFF leadership.

A statement from the NFF after its remote board meeting on Friday said: "The Board received and endorsed the report of a virtual meeting of the League Management Company and NPFL clubs held on Thursday, 23rd April 2020 and at which decisions were taken including commitment to:

"Conclude the League season after the COVID-19 and resumption of football activities; consider the most plausible format for conclusion of the remaining games; continue to communicate with the Clubs and ensure commitment by the clubs to continuous payment of the salaries of their players, coaches and backroom staff under the current circumstances.

"Arrange testing for all players, coaches and backroom staff (about 1,200 persons in all) before the commencement of matches, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC; await realities thence to determine whether matches will be played with crowds or not immediately after the restart; give priority to privately-funded clubs for special funds if the LMC secures any exceptional support and; ensure that the LMC and NPFL continue to cogitate on the best way forward for the game this season and coming seasons."

To adjust to current realities, the NFF will also revise its budget for the year and implement belt-tightening measures, focusing mostly on the senior national teams.

"In line with these new realities, the Federation will prioritize programs, activities and competitions in which to partake, with the engagement of the senior teams being the fulcrum," the NFF statement said.

"The President and General Secretary are mandated to cut down expenses from all areas possible and enforce belt-tightening measures in the running of the Federation, to ensure the Federation operates only within the framework of guaranteed revenue."

All leagues and competitions across divisions are also expected to be concluded within six to eight weeks of post-lockdown resumption.