Arsenal marketing director Angus Kinnear has confirmed that due to several unforeseen problems, Arsenal have been forced to postpone their pre-season tour of Nigeria, which was only confirmed just over a week ago. A message on Arsenal.com reads:
“Bringing a top-level club to an international market is always complicated and logistically challenging. With the proposed match in Nigeria planned for early August, we could not get comfortable on everything needed to satisfy our requirements, so we have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the team’s visit.
“We have a huge and loyal following in Africa, and we are sorry that the team will not be visiting this summer. However, we have a long-term commitment to Nigeria and we are already making plans for a visit next summer.
“In addition, we also have some exciting forthcoming activities planned with our commercial partners in Nigeria – Emirates, Airtel and Malta Guinness, which will kick off in the next few weeks.”
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) would not comment on why Arsenal cancelled their tour, and would only make reference to the comments made on the Arsenal website. However, reports in yesterday’s news suggest that the decision was hugely influenced by security issues in the northern part of the country. It is thought that doubts about the quality of the pitch (Nigeria’s sports minister said that they would not rush the refurbishment the pitch at the Abuja National Stadium before Arsenal’s arrival) also contributed to the cancellation. If any of the Arsenal players were to have picked up injuries from playing on a rubbish surface there would be hell to pay from the Arsenal fans!