NFF, LMC resolve Aiteo Cup imbroglio

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and League Management Company (LMC) have stepped in to resolve the issues that emanated from its decision to award Kwara United the second qualifying ticket to CAF Confederation Cup.

Recall that Remo Stars have automatically qualified for the CAF Confederation Cup following its third position on the log of the recently concluded Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.

However, there is a second opportunity for other clubs in the Nigeria football divisions to have a shot at the CAF Confederation Cup through the Aiteo Federation Cup being organised by the NFF.

With a greenlight to clinch the ticket aglow, 64 Nigerian clubs were slated in a draw to compete amongst themselves where the winner of the tourney will finally have the opportunity to join Remo Stars in clubs’ continental football.

While the tournament lasted up to the last 8, a new decision by the NFF to hand the salt of the event to Kwara United triggered the withdrawal of several clubs from the quarter-final stage.

Among the clubs that presumably boycotted the tournament were Kano Pillars, Wikki Tourists, Nasarawa United, Katsina United, and Lobi Stars.

However, due to their withdrawals, Kogi United got two walkovers to the final awaiting to play the winner between Niger Tornadoes and the Heartland of Owerri.

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But in a twist of event, on Friday, the NFF, LMC and representatives of the clubs that are through to the Aiteo Cup quarter-finals, went for an emergency meeting where they reached a compromise in the spirit of fair play.

According to the resolutions reached, the NFF maintained that all the quarter-final matches will be played on August 20 in the earlier selected venue except Ilorin centre where Heartland tackled Katsina United.

Furthermore, the NFF said that 8 of the quarter-final teams will receive the sum of N3 million as compensation to ameliorate their expenses while Heartland and Katsina United will receive N5 million each if they decide to replay their tie.

Proceeding to the semifinals, the four successful teams will be given N2 million each while the finalists will be handed N1 million each as compensation.

Consequently, the winner of the event will be awarded the prize money of N25 million which may be subjected to a 50% upward review.

Additionally, the winner of the Aiteo Federation Cup will also be granted automatic qualification to the round of 16 of the 2022-2023 edition of the Aiteo Federation Cup.

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