President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick says the Covid-19 pandemic has punished football globally.
Pinnick who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sports This Morning, disclosed that the coronavirus outbreak has really affected football operations worldwide.
“Football is football but it has taken a huge toll globally. The English Premier League, on TV rights alone, they have lost over 800 million pounds, Serie A has lost 750 million euros while the La Liga has lost 780 million Euros.
“The right holders of the French Ligue 1 have said they will not pay the league because there has been no content to deliver so they are holding back 125 million euros.
“Clubs across Europe have agreed to paycuts. See the Olympics suffering a loss of 6 billion dollars for the postponement to next year,’’ Pinnick confirmed.
Pinnick described the Covid-19 situation as a call for reflection, a time that provides an opportunity to see how we redirect, refocus and plan strategically. Not just for the NFF, it’s for everybody. “When you sit at home, use this time to take a deep breath, pause, meditate and do what you believe you need to do right.”
The NFF president further explained how it has affected football in Nigeria, “In Nigeria, we were planning a huge award ceremony for the Super Falcons.
“We want to celebrate what the ladies have done for football development in the country.
“The class of 1999 were impressive at the world cup and we have to honour them the way we did for the men. But this pandemic has paused everything.’’
The former CAF executive committee member admits post Covid-19 will be very tough. He added that the NFF we will take critical decisions working with the ministry of youth and sports development and major stakeholders to look at the things that can achieved realistically.
“We’ll definitely look at what we have. Right now we have about 11 national teams, we have all these things going on, we know what football means to Nigeria, so we need to interface with political stakeholders, we also need to interface with the ministry and see how best we can position or reposition ourselves because trust me, it is really bad. Every competition is important, that I can tell you.’’
When questioned about sustaining sponsorship for major competitions in the country, he answered, “There’s no competition that is not important but do what we call the scale of preference, that is the trick. You look at your priority, it doesn’t mean in future that we cannot go back do.
“There are so many things that we need to cut down on. We have to look at the reality of what is going on, it’s not just going to affect only football, it will affect practically every facet of the economy. Which means all the other sponsors will also come back and say they want to renegotiate, they want to talk with you again and some will pull out.”
The NFF boss also explained the relevance of the year 2020, particularly the post Covid-19 period.
“We believe that we don’t want to get distracted irrespective of anything because we know this year and next year, it’s going to be a tough call for Nigerian football. We need to qualify for the world cup. Its unforgivable, it’s a sin that you cannot forgive.
If you don’t qualify for the world cup, we know what it means to Nigeria. So we need to stay focused. We want to enjoin everybody to support us in ensuring that we qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup,” he affirmed.