NPFL introduces mandatory dope tests to the league

NPFL introduces mandatory dope tests to the league
Credit: @NPFL_News X

The Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) is taking its business seriously as it looks to upgrade it to match with the top leagues in the world.

Despite its numerous challenges, the NPFL is about to witness another ground-breaking rule that could change how its players approach the game.

While many have spoken about the introduction of VAR and the welfare and mental state of the players in the NPFL, the league organisers are going a step further to uplift its standard.

The league organising body has introduced mandatory tests for players in the league as they seek to sanitise it of the use of illicit drugs.

NPFL players to undergo a mandatory drug test

npfl drug tests introduced
Credit: Icon Sport

In every top league in the world, regulations are in place to ensure players and teams do not get undue advantage over others.

One of the innovations that emanated from the desire to level the playing field was the introduction of the Financial Fair Play rule (FFP). The NPFL may be slow, but they are doing everything possible to bridge the gap.

The latest addition to the ever-growing NPFL is a mandatory drug test.

According to the latest report from the football house, mandatory conduct of random tests for illicit drugs on players of the NPFL has commenced.

All 20 clubs have received directions from the NPFL to ensure a process that allows operatives of the National Anti-Doping Committee to work unhindered.

The directive on the mandatory tests was contained in a memo signed by Davidson Owumi, the Chief Operating Officer.

According to the memo, two players from the clubs in every fixture will undergo the anti-doping tests without prior notice.

Owumi encouraged the clubs to cooperate with the Anti-Doping Agency to allow for a seamless discharge of their duties.

The whole idea is to cleanse the league of real and rumoured doping scandals.

Facilitating the mandatory dope tests

NPFL champions Enyimba players looking to defend a corner
Credit: @EnyimbaFC Twitter

The NPFL is working on the logistics of implementing the dope tests.

Towards this end, a Doping Control Systems office will be activated at all NPFL stadiums to facilitate the full implementation of the doping checks.

It is to ensure a hitch-free test by the Committee.

The memo also reiterated that the clubs must not prevent the Test Operatives from performing their duties and that access to the players and stadium must be unrestricted.

Players are to submit to the test when demanded.

The test involves the collection of samples from four players, two (2) from each team.

The four (4) players will be selected by target testing in line with the International Standard for Testing and Investigation and the FIFA Anti-Doping Rules.

The league organisers insist they want to implement the rule to achieve a zero-tolerance for doping targets set by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), CAF and FIFA.

Kits for the tests arrived in the country recently, and selected operatives have since undergone training on its application.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.