The aftermath of the leadership crisis that rocked the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) some weeks ago, which led to the indefinitely suspension of the Nigeria Professional Football League has now made the League Management Company (LMC) to abruptly end the league for this season.
LMC has confirmed that it has agreed with the 20 clubs involved to declare Lobi Stars winner of the 2017/2018 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season because it is Lobi star that is leading the table before the indefinitely break.
Though, the decision was reached following an emergency meeting in Abuja, in order to meet up with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) October 15 deadline, for registration of clubs for the Champions League and Confederation Cup which Nigeria club desire to participate but may be impossible if the league continues.
The NPFL went on break before the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but the resumption date was postponed due to the leadership crisis which rocked the NFF which has now been resolved.
Lobi Stars occupy top spot in the table with 43 points from 24 matches.
In the original structure of the league, the NPFL Calendar for 2018, to commence in January 2018 and end on September 2018, with a break for the 2018 World Cup provided between June 4 to July 18, 2018.
However, before the decision several things were put into considerations. Here are some of the decisions reached by the LMC and club owners:
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.
That the above decisions were reached on the basis of Rule B15.23 of the Framework and Rules of the NPFL, which states that:
The above decisions are with the approval of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
In the meantime, different opinions are being passed concerning this awkward decision from Nigerians across various social media.