The Federal Government on Thursday said the 20th National Sports Festival currently ongoing in Edo State will continue as planned despite shutdown threats by the Local Organizing Committee.

The LOC on Wednesday had said the Federal Government was yet to redeem its pledge to support the host state financially for the cost of postponements, which has left it with no option but to end the games at noon on Thursday.

Teams from various states at the opening ceremony of the 20th National Sports Festival in Edo States on April 6, 2021.

But the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development said it was not aware of any officially documented move to shut down the games.

“The Ministry and the Main Organizing Committee (MOC) for the festival are unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo State government to shut down the sports festival as there has been no official meeting or communication that relayed such information,” a statement signed by Sports Ministry spokesman Ramon Balogun, said.

“The Honorable Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors are on ground in Benin City where the Festival is holding, and it is expected that the Edo State Government would formally invite the Ministry for a meeting should any urgency exist around the National Sports Festival or communicate officially with the Main Organizing Committee (MOC) for the festival. The Ministry has no such communication.

“For the records, the Edo State government due to the cost implications of postponements occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic requested financial assistance from the Federal Government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. The Ministry has since been at work to secure the financial assistance which it believes is being processed. The MYSD and EDSG are determined to deliver a successful National Sports Festival.”

The festival was officially flagged off on Tuesday after several postponements due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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