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Nigerian clubs to pay up to N2.5m per game for COVID-19 tests

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Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs will spend a massive N2.5m for COVID-19 tests per game if the season should be completed.

Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development in an interview with Brila FM, said players and coaches of all NPFL clubs must undergo tests before the league could resume.

“There will be no compromise on certain things when it comes to the health code, there will be no compromise,” Dare said.

“I can tell you, there will be no audience participation; content will have to be beamed through radio, television and other means.

“Tests will be conducted on the players and the coaches as the case may be and I don’t see us having multiple venues. We might think of centres to have all the other games.

“I don’t know what they are going to bring forward, I’m just rolling out a few guidelines that I think must guide the return of the league.”

A COVID-19 test costs approximately N50,000 in Nigeria, according to the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi.

Each NPFL team is expected to administer up to 50 tests (40 players and 10 officials) before every game, meaning each club will pay N2.5m for the tests.

In total, the 20 NPFL clubs would cough up a combined N50m for the tests, per game.

Warri Wolves FC chairman, Moses Etu, called for the cancellation of the NPFL as several clubs will not be able to meet such demands.

“I don’t have much to say, the politics is on and we are waiting, they said they want to meet with the Federal Government, but till now, we are still expecting a response from them,” Etu told The PUNCH.

“With what is happening now, there is no way we can restart the league, I’m of the opinion that the league should be cancelled.

“Hopefully, by September things will have improved and then we can restart the league again. It’s not a do-or-die affair. Those fighting that they want to finish the season in their bid to represent the country in CAF competitions should pray that this pandemic should not extend further because no one will be able to travel out of the country to honour matches.

“I believe those teams that represented the country on the continent last season should be made to fly the country’s flag again.

“If we are to restart the league, we will keep the players for 14 days for COVID-19 testing. Which hotel will allow their facility for an isolation centre? The fee for the testing is another case because there’s no money for that.

“And if you send these players to the regular isolation centre, will these players be psychologically prepared for the restart?”

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