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Nigeria okays league restart in virus easing

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ROME, ITALY – DECEMBER 12: Diego Perotti of AS Roma is challenged by Michael Sollbauer of Wolfsberger AC during the UEFA Europa League group J match between AS Roma and Wolfsberger AC at Stadio Olimpico on December 12, 2019 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Giampiero Sposito/Getty Images)

Nigeria has approved the restart of league matches but without spectators at the stadiums in a move to ease the restrictions over the coronavirus, the government said.

The Nigerian league was suspended in March with 13 rounds of matches to go following the outbreak of the pandemic.

“Restriction is removed on outdoor communal (non-contact)sports and use of recreational parks for supervised physical exercise and sporting leagues to resume with no fans in stadiums,” said Sani Aliyu, the coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 late Thursday.

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There have been calls for the resumption of the league following a gradual easing of the lockdowns imposed in the wake of the virus.

Officials have announced that a new league season would start later this month or in October.

“We now have good examples around the world of how to play the game post-COVID and so the lifting of the ban on sporting activities is timely and most welcome,” said FA chairman Adam Mouktar Mohammed.

“We believe we can still play safe while also saving the livelihoods of those who depend on football in the country.”

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