Coronavirus: We won’t stop NPFL, insists Dikko

The Nigeria Professional Football League will not be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak across the world, Chairman of the League Management Company, Shehu Dikko, has said.

In a chat with our correspondent, Dikko, said the country was still safe for league games to go on due to the number of coronavirus cases recorded.

Leagues in Europe, South Africa and Ghana have been suspended due to the virus but Dikko said the NPFL was still safe to go ahead.

“We don’t have plans of stopping the league, at least for now. Coronavirus is a matter of public health and Nigeria so far has only two cases and one of them is negative now, so, we are not like other countries, where they are dealing with containment,” Dikko told newsmen.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had on Friday, said the second confirmed case of coronavirus in the country no longer had the virus and would be discharged from the treatment centre in Lagos. This left the index case as the only positive coronavirus patient in the country.

“What we are dealing with here is prevention and the public authorities are doing everything possible and the World Health Organisation is even using Nigeria as a reference point, so, we are having conversations with everyone involved and at the appropriate time, if they advise us on what to do, we will comply.”

On what the NPFL is doing to educate players and fans on the virus, Dikko said, “We are creating awareness, the same awareness that the Ministry of Health has been saying, that you need to keep washing your hands, limit physical contacts like shaking of hands, so, all that awareness is being given to people. So, we are going to increase that tempo to see what happens, while we keep having the conversations with the right authorities and also studying what would happen.

“The moment we see that we have to take a certain line of action, we will not shy away from doing it.

“We are reviewing the pre-match handshake formalities to see if that would help, but so far, we have not done it because we are just dealing with prevention, not containment. Since the virus is not yet endemic in the country for now, we will continue to talk with the right people and get the right advice,” he added.

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