Following a meeting with club representatives, the women’s top-flight season has been scrapped due to the coronavirus challenges

The Nigeria Women’s Football League [NWFL] board has announced the complete cancellation of the 2019-20 Nigerian Women’s Premier League [NWPL] due to the coronavirus disruptions.

The campaign, which was initially set to kick off on March 25 was postponed indefinitely four days earlier over the global health crisis. 

This cancellation means the women’s leagues, including the top-flight, will not take place for the first time since the first championship was organised in 1990.

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Having scrapped the season, it further resolved that the next term will start after the government’s approval for football’s return in the build-up for the new Caf Women’s Champions League.

Wednesday’s decisions were the outcome of a virtual conference meeting, which was attended by NWFL chairperson Aisha Falode and chairmen of the women’s clubs on Tuesday. 

“The management committee of the Nigeria Women’s Football League headed by Aisha Falode in conjunction with women club owners and managers have unanimously agreed to scrap the 2019/2020 season, in the three tiers of the women’s league, for the sake of protecting the health of the players and officials in the various clubs, in line with the Covid-19 protocols,” the NWFL announced in a statement made available to Goal.

“In the communique signed after the virtual meeting, it was also agreed that clubs should be encouraged to prepare for the 2020/2021 season contingent upon the time the protocol for resuming sporting activities is approved, as the league will resume after approval has been given to the Protocol for the resumption of sporting activities document submitted by the Minister of Sports to the Covid-19 Taskforce and the National Assembly and NFF lifts the ban on football activities.

“The meeting also agreed that clubs are to continue to observe the existing Protocol guidelines put in place by the NCDC and the Covid-19 Presidential Taskforce as the League Board will not compromise standards, therefore, 2020/2021 will continue by abiding by the existing registration and every cup to should ensure that all necessary registration requirement should be put in place, as all registration for 2019/2020 will be carried over to 2020/2021.

“According to the communique, clubs to use the period of the break to complete all registration processes including evidence of up to date payment of salaries to their players.

“In view of the approval of Caf to commence the Caf Women Champions League in 2021, it was agreed that the 2020/2021 Nigeria Women Premier League season will be structured as a full season (straight league) with a plan to organize another draw for this purpose. 

“The league leadership urged all clubs to display and give quality representation on the continent during the inaugural Caf Women Champions League. Clubs are advised to give a good account of themselves.

“Also at the virtual meeting, the Head of NWFL Management Committee, Aisha Falode, briefed the club chairmen and managers of Fifa Covid-19 Solidarity fund relief to the Confederation and National Associations with specific reference to USD 500,000.00 to each National Association for women’s football development, noting that it is the prerogative of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to determine the breakdown.

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“The meeting also urged club owners to unite themselves and put the past behind, for the sake of women’s football growth in Nigeria. And most importantly, the meeting eventually resolved the issue of a faction between the club owners and it is now one family.”

The development means champions Rivers Angels will now have to defend their title in the 2020-21 season which doubles as the qualifiers for the inaugural Caf Women’s Champions League.

Nigeria is now the latest country in Africa to cancel its women’s leagues after Uganda, Morocco, South Africa, Algeria, Kenya, Liberia, Cameroon, Senegal and Burkina Faso due to Covid-19.

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