'Wahala' as 5 Nigerian Viewing centre owners bemoan postponement of Premier League fixtures

‘Wahala’ as 5 Nigerian Viewing centre owners bemoan postponement of Premier League fixtures

The craze behind the thrills of English’s apex division stems from the quality as well as the fast-paced brand of football it is notorious for.

From shocking upsets to dramatic comebacks and absolute net busters, the Premier League had long sealed its reputation as the most iconic football league in modern history.

On Thursday, news from Buckingham Palace broke that her royal majesty The Queen had passed away.

To that effect, the English FA, as well as the United Kingdom, confirmed the cancellation of all football fixtures, and events across the nation this weekend as tributes continued to be paid in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II who died aged 96.

“We and our clubs would like to pay tribute to Her Majesty’s long and unwavering service to our country.

“As our longest-serving monarch, she has been an inspiration and leaves behind an incredible legacy following a life of dedication.

“This is a tremendously sad time for not just the nation, but also for the millions of people around the world who admired her, and we join together with all those in mourning her passing.”

This is aligned with the approach that The FA and EFL will take with their competitions this weekend.

Further updates regarding Premier League fixtures during the period of mourning will be provided in due course.” an official statement from the Premier League read.

However, the postponement of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures have since garnered reactions from Nigerians on social media with a particular group of business owners seemingly disappointed after the latest development.

Viewing centres in Nigeria is an avenue for football fans and to come together and enjoy the thrills of watching live football in the company of fellow football lovers.

The experience the viewing centre brings is no doubt one of the fondest ones in the country as you get to meet people with contrasting as well as similar ideologies of the sport argue while fans passionately try to defend their team from inevitable banter.

But the confirmation of the postponement of the most watched league in Nigeria and probably the world seems to have touched a nerve of some viewing centre owners in the country.

Pulse Sports Nigeria met with some owners of match viewing centers across the country and most of them were far from okay with the latest development.

“The truth is that I’m not happy. It’s slowing down business for me especially as expenses have been made because of this weekend’s games.

I just bought three new standing fans and I know how much it cost me, and I know how much I make here every weekend.

My wife also sells food and drinks here every weekend and that also helps push the business a lot.

Now she will have to be at home while I’m here this weekend, hoping and praying people will come and watch other leagues.

But I know they won’t be up to 10 that will come here this weekend. So imagine running generator for just 10 people for 2 hours, that’s if they are up to 10 sef. But they should just resume quickly so I can see profit.”

When asked on how bad the postponement will affect match-viewing centres in Nigeria, KayC said: I think it depends on the owners. Like me now, I have something else on the side as my hustle. This business is my main but I still do other stuffs to support myself and my family. But people who depend on this business alone, the situation might not favour them.’

“Well firstly, May the queen rest in peace. I can understand why the matches have to be postponed and I can’t complain. But it’s quite annoying because the league just started and overtime each weekend brings me new customers to watch games here.

But like I said, It’s fine. I’ll still be showing games in La Liga and Italian Serie A. If people like they come, if they don’t it’s up to them.”

When asked about the possibility of viewers paying to watch other leagues, Ariyo had this to say: ”Of course i’ll charge them. It’s a business at the end of the day. I mean…not the same price with the Premier League but why not? It’s a business at the end of the day. It’s still money that was spent to ensure the games are shown. So why won’t I collect my money?”

“For me, I no go fit lie or even pretend. E no make sense. When I hear the tin yesterday, e just get as my body do me. Because I don already buy fuel as light no dey trustworthy.

Even sef, my pikin just resume school and I never even settle school fees mata finish. But God dey. Na this business dey put food for my table for almost seven years now.

And I know how much I dey spend on fuel and e even get people wey dey owe me from last weekend and even last two weekends.

Na dis weekend I plan collect my money but I gats wait now till when dem decide to resume ball.”

When asked about the possibility of customers still coming to watch other leagues, he said: ”My brother…for where?? , you sef. You dey watch all those leagues like that? Nobody dey pain to watch Juventus or Milan or even Bayern. But I just dey put am make people get options. Na England be baba.”

“How do i feel? Just guess…. No no no I would like you to seriously guess.

I’ve just been pissed off about it. And it’s not like it happened during pre-season or last month when there were not many games.

Like now is just a bad time and the Premier League is what makes customers come out. Not La Liga, Not Bundesliga, Not Serie A not to talk of French league.

Premier League clubs have more fans than any other league, so you can imagine my frustration. On the brighter side sha, I can actually paint here like I’ve always wanted to. So that’s my plan now so that it’s ready before they decide to resume.”

When asked if he will still be showing other leagues ths weekend, this was his reply:

“Chairman, didn’t you hear what I just said? I said English league is what brings people here. Why would I waste my time and show another league when I know nobody will come ?”

‘Well I understand the reason for the postponement and it’s fine. Whenever they are ready to get back, they should let us know and make it quick. People like myself depend on this business as a means of livelihood.

So it does not favour me at all, no matter how you want to look at it. I spent money on fuel this weekend thinking I would recoup for sure after the games but that won’t happen.

I have bills to sort out too but now I have to find another means to raise money in the meantime and my child is yet to resume school. So it’s not fair on me”

When asked on average how many people come to watch weekend games at his shop, Shola said: “Normally at least 40 people come here every weekend on those two days – that is each of both Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes people are more on Saturday, sometimes it’s Sunday depending on the matches that are happening that day.”

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