Premier League’s hopes of bringing fans back into stadiums in early October could be hampered after the UK government said it would review the plans and limit test events for sports.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a Downing Street news conference that pilot events for sports in September would be restricted to a maximum of 1,000 fans per event.
“We must revise plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month and review our intention to return audiences to stadiums from Oct. 1.
“But that doesn’t mean we are going to scrap the programme entirely. We are just going to have to review it and abridge it,” he said.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Twitter that changes to the plans would be announced shortly, following an increased number of COVID-19 cases in the UK.
“Work continues round the clock with the ambition of having audiences back much closer to normal by Christmas,” Dowden said.
The new Premier League season starts Saturday and, as with the games played since the resumption of last season in June following the coronavirus lockdown, they would be closed to fans.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said the league remained ready to carry out test events with the goal of getting some fans back in grounds by Oct. 1.
“We are always subject to a government decision and they haven’t made that decision yet.
“All I can say is that the Premier League and the Premier League clubs stand ready, willing and able to continue with our test events and test proposals and open our turnstiles from Oct. 1 if we are given permission to do so,” Masters told reporters.
“If Project Restart taught us anything it is that we have to be flexible and be willing to meet the bumps in the road,” he said.
Masters said the absence of fans had an economic impact beyond the affected clubs.
“There are implications. With every match round that goes by without fans, there are significant financial implications for every club in the football pyramid. So, it does have an impact.
“It’s not just the loss of matchday revenue.
“Every Premier League match on average generates about 20 million pounds for the economy both local and national. So, we want to play our part in helping the economy to recover as well,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Olawale Alabi)
3-storey school building collapses in Lagos
A three-storey building of the Excell College, a private school in Ejigbo, Lagos, collapsed on Saturday, two days to reopening of secondary and private schools in the state.
The building is located at No. 15, Ansarudeen St., by Ile Epo Bus stop, Iyana Ejigbo.
Lagos State-owned tertiary institutions re-opened on Sept. 14.
The Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, told newsmen that no person was trapped in the collapsed building.
He noted that the school had been under lock and key since March due to the COVID-19-induced restrictions.
According to the LASEMA director-general, the building, which collapsed at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, is part of a conjoined (twin) three-storey building.
He said that the collapse was attributable to “visible distress”, adding that the collapsed portion affected the second wing, as shown by visible cracks on the walls, pillars and decking of the second portion.
“Distress calls received established that the building collapsed at about 8:15a.m.
“Information gathered from some officials of the school revealed that the building had previously shown signs of distress and the school was planning to renovate and refortify the structure.
“The three-storey building has two wings; the wing that collapsed seriously affected the second wing, as visible cracks can be seen on the walls, pillars and decking.
“Fortunately, nobody was trapped.
“Responders to the incident are LASEMA, Lagos State Building Collapse Agency and the police,” he said.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Ijeoma Popoola
Electorate, observer commend conduct of election in Edo
Electorate and observer at Ugboko Ward 5, Unit 26, Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo, agree that the conduct of the state governorship election is peaceful.
Some of the electorate who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews on Saturday, said that the conduct was well organised.
Mr Benson Ibizugbe said that he was impressed that the process was going on peacefully and violence-free.
Ibizugbe said ”INEC did a good job by conducting a peaceful election here.
“There has not been issues of faulty equipment and they provided face masks for voters who don’t have to make them eligible to vote”.
An INEC observer, Ada Opkara, from Smile Africa, said that the voting process was seamless and commended the people of Ugboko ward for their peaceful conduct.
“I resumed here at 7: 18 a.m. before the INEC staff resumed activities, from that time till now, about three hours later, everywhere is calm.
She expressed optimism that the peaceful atmosphere at the polling unit would continue throughout the voting process going by the presence of security personnel.
Another electorate, Mr Monday Erhabor, said that he was happy that there was no violence at the voting centre.
“Everywhere is calm and peaceful, there is no violence, the security is tight and we are sure of a free and fair process”.
Edited By: Constance Athekame/Kayode Olaitan
Edo Election: European Centre decries non-compliance to COVID-19 protocols
Mr Wilson Manji, the deputy project coordinator, told the News Agency of Nigeria , that although the voters were all wearing face masks but they did not maintain social distancing.
“So far the election is going smoothly and calm. We are at Ologbosere primary in Ikpoba-Okha local government area of the state.
“So far everything is peaceful and calm here. Just that the INEC staff just arrived at about 10a.m. and accreditation and voting started at about 10.30a.m. instead of 8.30a.m,” he said.
According to him, the polling officers came with hand sanitisers and thermometers to check the temperature of every voter.
“But we are aware that there are some few isolated cases that started 9.a.m. or after 9.a.m. because of some issues they needed to sort out.
“From the reports we are getting, almost all the polling units have started voting,” he said.
Wariowei, however, said he observed that the voters were all wearing face masks but did not maintain social distancing.
According to Wariowei, before I left the polling units I visited, I educated the people on the need to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 regulations by maintaining social distancing for the safety of all.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu
Edo 2020: Card Readers fail to authenticate fingerprints in Esan West, Central
The Card Readers provided for the Edo Governorship election to authenticate fingerprints of voters in Esan West and Esan Central Local Government Areas of Edo on Saturday failed to recognise some voters.
Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria , who monitored the election in the areas, report that while the Card Readers easily identified the voter cards, they failed to authenticate their fingerprints.
This abnormally was noticeable at the polling units in Ward 5 (Uhunmudumu Primary School), and units 14, 15 and 16 (Emado Primary School) in Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government Area.
The same was applicable in units 5 and 6, Ward 6 (Idumebo Primary School), in Esan Central Local Government Area.
Meanwhile, Mr Victor Edoro, a politician in the area and an ex-commissioner in Edo, Mr Gideon Obhakhan, have described the exercise as impressive.
They described the voting process as peaceful and orderly, with compliance to COVID-19 Pandemic containment protocols.
Edoro, who voted at his voting centre in Idumebo Primary School, Irrua, Esan Central Local Government Area, described the voting process as “peaceful and hitch free.”
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu