The Federal Government has again postponed the 20th National Sports Festival for the fourth time since its original date of March 21 to April 2020.
TrackNews Online reports that the Sports Festival which was scheduled to begin on February 14-28th, was again shifted to April 2021.
This is the fourth postponement the games will be suffering since its original date of March 21st to April 1st, 2020.
This decision was reached on Monday after the emergency meeting of the National Council on Sports convened by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who is the chairman of the council.
Those in attendance include the commissioners of youth and sports from the states of the federation and directors of Sports and the Deputy Governor of Edo state who is also the chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the “Edo 2020” games, Philip Shaibu.
Rising from the meeting the Council resolved that it was best to shift the festival to a later date due to financial challenges raised by the host state and accommodation problems at the University of Benin.
According to the resolution of the council, the Federal Government, Edo State and the Council on Sports agreed that the festival will now hold in April since the earlier February date was no longer feasible.
“We have seen the Sports Festival postponed three times. As we speak now, most of us should have arrived Edo state getting ready for February 14, to start the Edo 2020 Sports Festival,” Sunday Dare said.
“But flowing from our last meeting a few things came up. There was an undertone that the postponements have occasioned some financial difficulties and strains on the host state, and I dare say even on our part as the Ministry the postponements have also occasioned some financial difficulties.
“On the strength of this similar experience myself, His Excellency the Governor and also Deputy Governor have bounced Ideas, the conversation, back and forth. Of course, when December came, we know that almost everything stopped but it was agreed that it was important to approach the Federal Government for financial support.
“I’m glad to report that the Federal Government is favourably disposed to assisting Edo State to host the Festival. In the next few days, we hope to push through the document through the Ministry of Finance to get the financial support to get the festival on track. The February 14th date was not cast in stone as we wanted to avoid another postponement. But we must agree that the February 14th date is no longer feasible.
“The importance of the Festival cannot be overemphasized. The idea of not holding the Festival should be thrown out completely. It is an Olympics year; it would help shape the athletes for the Olympics.”