Pinnick: Global Football Will Not Remain the Same after COVID-19

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Amaju Pinnick
Amaju Pinnick

Duro Ikhazuagbe

As the entire world continues to reel with effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick has restated that global football will not be the same again at the end of the scourge.

Speaking yesterday morning on Channel Television sports programme, the NFF president admitted that global football has received a major hit whose effects will be with the game for a long time.

“Football has taken a major hit with this Covid-19. Let’s start with the English Premier League: On television broadcast right alone, the Premier League has lost 800 million pounds. The Italian Serie A has lost 750million euro while the Spanish La Liga has also lost about 780 million euro.

“If you go to the German Bundesliga for example, their television rights holders are now discussing on how to negotiate the situation they now found themselves.

“In France, Canal Tv and BeIN tv who are the rights holder of Ligue 1, are saying that they cannot pay because their is no content to deliver. They are withholding 135million euro that should have gone to Ligue 1
“You are also aware of the across the board pay cuts ongoing due to the lockdown: Barcelona 70 per cent, Juventus a certain per cent-age of their wages. In England it is 30 per cent across board which may translate to about 500 million pounds with government alone losing around 200million pounds in taxes. It is really having a telling effects on sports globally,” stressed the NFF Chief.

He said that the situation is not different from what is happening in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that has now been postponed by one year with huge addition costs to the host country Japan.

Coming home to Nigeria, Pinnick said that the COVID-19 has Laos thrown spanners into most of its plans including the celebration of the Super Falcons class of 1999 that got to the quarter finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in USA.

“We are supposed to be celebrating our girls at the NFF Awards. We were planning to celebrate the Super Falcons of the class of 1999 because they have been able to give Nigeria what no other sector has done. We are planning to celebrate them for reaching the quarter finals of the Women’s World Cup n USA.

“We have already spoken with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and he had accepted to be part of it. We don’t know if that will hold anymore. Even if that will hold, we have to do it in a low key manner now because of what this Covid-19 has done to the global economy. The same thing for our AITEO Cup competition.

Given the lull in the oil sector which is the business of the major sponsor of the NFF, Pinnick revealed that a lot of its activities at the Sunday Dankaro House will need to be scaled down.

“If you look at the situation with our Main Sponsors, AITEO, we are all aware of what has happened in the oil sector with the crash in oil price. To produce a barrel of oil is about $17 and with this covid-19 and the issue between Saudi Arabia and Russia that has forced down price of the product globally, it is going to be very tough for us at the NFF.

“We are going to liaise with critical stakeholders in taking some very difficult decisions. Right now, we have like 11 national teams and will meet with stakeholders and the supervisory Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports before reaching those decisions. I cannot tell you now which teams to drop for us to stay afloat after Covid-19,” observed Pinnick.

He admitted that every competition “is important but we just need to prioritize given the situation that we found ourselves now.”

“What we have with this Covid-19 is a global force majeure. Nobody saw it coming and therefore planned for it. Everyone was caught unaware,” concludes Pinnick who is also a member of CAF executive committee.