International

Nigerian club chief blasts league restart amid virus spike

2020-05-22 19:30
soccer, coronavirus
No football during ongoing coronavirus pandemic (AFP)

The chairperson of Nigerian top-flight football club Adamawa United on Friday criticised the planned restart of the country's league season as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.

Covid-19 has infected more than 7 000 people and claimed 211 lives in Africa's most populous nation of 200 million inhabitants.

"Nigeria league to return under this pandemic? That will be shocking, it will be absurd," Emma Zira told AFP.

"Whoever is preparing for the league to return now does not love football.

"Do we have the facilities to restart the league especially when the pandemic is growing by the day and our health facilities are being stretched every day?

"And we haven't even reached the peak (of the outbreak)."

Zira, whose club are threatened with relegation from Nigeria's top division, said his concern was the health and safety of players and officials.

"It's not football. I'm not even thinking of football now. Only the living can play football, the dead cannot," he said. "Rather we should support the government to defeat this pandemic and not aid its spread."

The league was suspended on 18 March following the outbreak of the virus in Nigeria, but organisers plan to finish the competition within 10 weeks once they get the government's approval to do so.

They said 1 200 players and officials will be tested for the virus before they can resume action.

United are bottom of the top tier and, with 13 rounds of matches still to be played, look certain to return to the second division.

Plateau United topped the standings with 46 points from 25 matches before the league was suspended.

Read more on:    coronavirus  |  soccer

 

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