The 19th National Sports Festival has been officially withdrawn from Calabar, the Cross River state capital.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will now host the 2018 edition of the festival in November.
This was made known through a statement on Thursday night by Mrs Nneka Ikem-Anibeze, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung.
According to her, the decision to withdraw the hosting rights from Calabar was taken at the National Council on Sports meeting which ended on Thursday at the General Hassan Katsina House, Kaduna.
She said a voting process was conducted during the meeting by the Minister who is also the Council’s Chairman.
She added that “having postponed the 19th National Sports Festival for 6 years, the Council resolved that the continued delay of the hosting of the Festival was detrimental to the growth of Sports in Nigeria and therefore withdrew the hosting rights from Cross River State while the Federal government will hold the 2018 edition in Abuja in November.
“The Council also approved the reduction of the age of athletes eligible to participate in the National Youth Games and adopted 15 years as upper limit of age for participants while overaged athletes, their erring coaches and states will be disqualified and fined the sum of N250,000 per disqualified athlete.
“The council also adopted a presentation to National Council on Establishment on Lateral Conversion of Coaches to enable them to progress in their cadres
“The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports was also directed to embellish the draft Implementation Guidelines for the National Sports Policy and circulate to members for inputs while the revised National Sports Policy for 2018 was also approved by the National Council on Sports and will be reviewed every 4 years.”