Confusion in Nigerian league

LAGOS - A controversy between the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and the Nigeria Football League (NFL) has erupted over when the Nigerian league should begin.

LAGOS - A controversy between the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and the Nigeria Football League (NFL) has erupted over when the Nigerian league should begin.

The NFL has slated August 18 as the kickoff date for the new season only for the NFA to reject this date, insisting that the country's football league season can only begin after its annual general meeting fixed for September 13.

"We can't start the league in August because the amateur clubs are still to play off for promotion to the pro league. Also, the FA Cup final will only be played on August 12. The clubs therefore need a little more time before the new season can commence," said NFA chairman Sani Lulu.

"By the statutes governing football in this country, we are empowered to decide on the date for the new season."

But the chairman of the NFL, Oyuki Obaseki, has hit out at the position of the NFA, insisting that the league will kick off on August 18 as endorsed by the congress of the NFL recently.

"Nobody can stop my league. For two years we have worked very hard to ensure that we harmonise our calendar with that of Europe and after we have successfully done so, someone now wants to make nonsense of all our hard work," said Obaseki.

"Officials of the NFA went on honeymoon to Canada (for the Fifa World Youth Championship) and because of that they did not have time for our football. And now they want us to pay for this."

Obaseki, who is also the second vice chairman of the NFA, told reporters that the board of the NFL will meet in Abuja on Friday to decide on the next line of action. The past two league seasons have been shortened and played almost on a regional basis as a way of getting the 20-team Nigerian league to run about the same time as the leagues in Europe. - Sapa-AFP

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