The National Council on Sports has recommended December 3 to 18 for hosting of the 20th National Sports Festival, tagged: “Edo 2020,” which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a communique issued at the end of its two-day meeting on Friday in Asaba, Delta State, the Council, however, stressed that the Games would be held under strict COVID-19 protocols.
According to the communique signed by Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, and other members of the Council, this year’s games will be held in two phases.
“Competition days Phase 1, comes up from December 6 to December 10; break and arrivals for second phase comes up on December 11 and Competition days for Phase 2 from December 12 to December 16; closing ceremony for December 17, and closure of Games Village on December 18,” it said.
The Technical Session of the meeting had agreed on the new format for the Games in order to strictly keep with the COVID-19 protocols.
The communique further said: “The virtual meeting held earlier this year unanimously agreed to host the Festival this year.
“The Committee of Experts set up during the virtual meeting made specific recommendations regarding the successful organisation of the 20th National Sports Festival.
“It has become imperative to tinker with the modus operandi of the Festival,” the communique read in part.”
It, however, noted that the recommendations were subject to the guidelines of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and final approval by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dare, who is the Chairman of the Council, assured that all COVID-19 protocols would be fully implemented in line with international best practice.
He said all infrastructure for the Games were COVID-19 compliant as confirmed by the National Assembly inspection visit to the state.
Earlier, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, who was also present at the meeting, emphasised the state’s readiness to conduct COVID-19 testing for all athlete and officials who would attend the competition.
“It is indeed heart warming that the long awaited NSF is holding this year 2020 as jointly approved by the National Council on Sports, today in Asaba,” Shaibu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the festival was postponed few days to kick off in March as a precautionary measure against the spread of the virus.