Organisers of the Nigerian Professional Football League, the League Management Company (LMC) has put up the rationale behind declaring Lobi Stars as the Nigerian champions and to register the club for next season’s CAF Champions League despite the Nigerian league not running its full course.

In a meeting with officials of the 20 clubs of the top division, the league was declared to have ended with each of the clubs still having 14 matches to play.

The disruption of the league was occasioned by the administrative crisis that followed the break initially granted for the World Cup period. CAF demands from its affiliates to submit entries for next season’s inter-clubs matches by October 15.

But for the crisis, the league could have resumed on July 18. The situation was made practically impossible to meet up with the deadline for the submission of the list of the country’s representatives to CAF Inter-Club Competitions and also the need to commence the 2019 season in earnest to meet with the CAF new calendar that runs from August to May of the following year”.

The crisis-resolution meeting called up resolved that none of the 20 clubs will be relegated while four teams from the next tier of the league will be promoted to make a 24 team league for the next football season which will have an abridged format.

To achieve harmony in the overall national football calendar, the NFF endorsed the 2019 AITEO CUP to commence from September 2018 and to end on 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.

According to a communiqué issued by the LMC, the decisions taken had statutory backing.  They “were reached in accordance with Rule B15.23 of the Framework and Rules of the NPFL, which states that, “any matter unforeseen or not provided for or, conflict in the interpretation and application of these Rules, shall be dealt with by the LMC as the circumstances require, having regards to the interest of fairness, good sportsmanship and the overall interest of the game of football”.

Continuing, the LMC explained that “on the strength of Rule B15.23, the relevant provisions of the competition fixtures, particularly as contained in Rules A2 (league structure) and A3 (the competition) were suspended”.

It will be recalled that the 2018 NPFL season Calendar released in December 2017, the LMC had structured the NPFL Calendar for 2018 to commence January, 2018 and end September, 2018 with a break for the 2018 World Cup from June 4 to July 18.

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