The 2017/18 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season will now kick off on 14 January, according to the League Management Company (LMC) which oversees the domestic championship.
According to a statement released on the official website of the NPFL on Thursday, it (the LMC) “took into consideration all scheduled fixtures of the AITEO Cup, CAF club competitions and the FIFA World Cup in planning (the NPFL) calendar” for the new season.
The company further revealed that the season will end on 30 September.
There will be a mid-season break from 30 April to 5 May before another break due to the FIFA World Cup in Russia between 14 June and 15 July.
The NPFL will resume three days after the World Cup.
“Activities to kick-start the 2017/18 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season which began with the ongoing club licensing will enter the next stage with the annual NPFL pre-season tournament from December 11-17, 2017 to usher in the grand season opening matches on January 14, 2018,” stated the LMC.
“Barring any unforeseen events, we definitely will conclude the season on September 30, 2018.”
The pre-season tournament for the campaign has been fixed to hold in Kano between 11 and 17 December this year.
Last season’s top-three sides Plateau United, MFM FC and Enyimba as well as Cup champions Akwa United will take part in the tournament.
The 20 clubs scheduled to take part in the NPFL next season have been given until 5 January to comply “with redemption and settlement of any outstanding payment of salaries arising from 2016/17 season to players and coaches; and/or provision of an acceptable financial guarantee to guarantee the overdue payments and a tentative payment plan from the club proprietors.”
LMC chief operating officer, Salihu Abubakar also disclosed that apart from the pre-season tournament in December, the fixture arrangements as well as seminars, checks on status of facilities and compliance to licensing regulation will come under focus.
“The draws for the new season, pre-season seminar and spot checking on Clubs compliance to licensing regulations, payment of players and officials salaries, status of facilities, etc,” Abubakar said.
Newly-promoted sides Go Round FC, Heartland FC, Kwara United, and Yobe Desert Stars will compete in the coming season.
© The Predictor