The 19th National Sports Festival which has lingered for four years without being realized has now been officially withdrawn from Calabar, Cross River State.
According to a press release from the Nigerian ministry of sports, the decision to withdraw the hosting rights was taken at the National Council on Sports meeting which ended on Thursday at the General Hassan Katsina House, Kaduna.
The National Sports Festival last held in Lagos in December 2012 with the next one due to hold in Calabar in 2014. But the biennial sports fiesta has passed over four years without materializing.
According to the press release on the events leading to the withdrawal of the hosting rights, voting process was thrown open on the floor of the meeting by the Chairman of the meeting and Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung.
Present were the commissioners of sports, directors of sports, chairmen of state sports councils, sports policy facilitators and other representatives in the sports sector.
“Having postponed the 19th National Sports Festival for six years, the Council resolved that the continued delay of the hosting of the festival was detrimental to the growth of sports in Nigeria and therefore withdrew the hosting rights from Cross River State while the Federal Government will hold the festival this November in Abuja.
The Council also approved the reduction of the age of athletes eligible to participate in the National Youth Games and adopted 15 years as upper limit of age for participants while over-aged athletes, their erring coaches and states will be disqualified and fined the sum of N250, 000 per disqualified athlete.
The council also adopted a presentation to National Council on Establishment on Lateral Conversion of Coaches to enable them to progress in their cadres
The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports was also directed to embellish the draft Implementation Guidelines for the National Sports Policy and circulate to members for inputs while the revised National Sports Policy for 2018 was also approved by the National Council on Sports and will be reviewed every four years.