Football viewing centres in Nigeria welcomed the resumption of the English Premier League (EPL) on Wednesday.
The EPL resumed its season after being halted in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Aston Villa and Sheffield United played to a goalless draw on Wednesday, and later Manchester City beat Arsenal 3-0.
While it was not the first league to resume since Covid-19 halted most sport around the world, it’s the league that has the biggest fanbase in Nigeria.
Viewing centre operator in Abakaliki, Nigeria, Chidi Ugwu told News Agency of Nigeria: “It is true that we have resumed operations since the resumption of the German and presently the Spanish leagues, but the EPL is what the fans are waiting for.
“The number of viewers who watch the German and Spanish leagues are ‘nothing to write home about’ but we hope that business will peak with the EPL resumption.”
All precautionary safety and hygiene protocols are being followed at the viewing centres said Ugwu.
“The soccer fans are expected to wash their hands with the running water we provide, clean their hands with sanitizer and compulsorily wear face masks.
“They are also expected to sit only two on a seat in observance of social distancing rules which has made the viewing fee to increase from N70 [Nigerian naira] to N100,” he said.
Another viewing centre operator Jude Imagbo said: “The fans who will stand when seats are occupied will stand at two metres apart from one another while observing all Covid-19 prevention protocols.
“We are lucky to have Manchester City vs Arsenal match as the star fixture of the EPL resumption as the expected surge of the fans will enable us to access our crowd control abilities.”
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo