Mon. Feb 17th, 2020

We cannot compromise with Nest of Champions turf – Ministry of Sports

•••Refers APC to Uyo Township Stadium for its rally

Promise Etim

Barring any last minute change, the APC presidential rally scheduled for the 28 of December, 2018, in Uyo, will hold at the Uyo Township Stadium.

The APC through its Chairman, Ini Okopido, had applied for use of the Nest of Champions, for its presidential rally.

In a swift reaction, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, through its Commissioner, Sir Monday Uko, referred the APC to the Uyo Township Stadium, citing that the Ministry cannot compromise with the turf of the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, which is currently being prepared for the new NPFL season.

The statement reads:

“The next season of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) is scheduled to begin on January 13, 2018. In view of this and the fixtures of home matches for Akwa United FC, it will be practically impossible to ‘regrass’ the stadium for pre-fixed matches, if used for non-sports activities, because of the nature of pressure that such events bring on the pitch. Additionally, The Maintenance Contractor (Julius Berger) had also advised that the present atmospheric conditions being very hostile to the pitch, the facility should not be used for non-sport activities during this harmattan period, so as to avoid inflicting long term or irreversible damage to the grass on the football pitch. This reason forced the relocation of the State’s Christmas Carols festival from the earlier proposed Godswill Akpabio International Stadium to the Uyo township Stadium”.

Uko, also noted that Julius Berger, who is responsible for maintaining the Stadium, have closed for the year, and it would be practically impossible to provide the necessary logistics for the event, as company will had told them, they will resume operations on the 7th of January, 2019.

“The stadium from its inception has been under a maintenance contract with Julius Berger Construction Company. They operate all the sensitive and non-sensitive components of the facility. They had closed for the year and proceeded on vacation (as it has been their usual practice) and are due to resume on January 7, 2018. The implication of this is that, the technical capacity required to activate the venue is currently unavailable, and this is not within our control”, Uko added.

The Ministry has however approved, in the alternative, the use of the Uyo Township Stadium for the event, while guaranteeing that the approved venue is in perfect condition.

An inspection team for the League Management Company (LMC), organizers of the NPFL, are due to visit Uyo in the next couple of days, to certify the Godswill Akpabio Stadium turf for hosting of Akwa United home games.

Akwa United will open their NPFL campaign against Elkanemi Warriors of Maiduguri, at home on the 13th of January, 2019.

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