Sunshine Stars and Abia Warriors have been sanctioned by the League Management Company (LMC) for disruptive behaviour of their fans in recent matches just as Enyimba’s Masseur, Mr. Ifeanyi Kalu was handed a one year ban from all activities of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and his club fined N250,000.
In a related development, the LMC has written to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) requesting the exclusion of 12 Referees from further officiating of NPFL matches pending investigations into their respective performances in recent matches.
A total fine of N2.7m has been imposed on Sunshine Stars for various breaches of the rule including failure to provide adequate security, assault on match officials, throwing of object into the field of play, delaying the start of the second half and throwing of object at an official of Heartland FC.
The breaches were committed in the course of their Match Day 33 fixture against Heartland at the Akure Township Stadium. In addition to the fine, Sunshine Stars will now serve the one match behind closed door which was earlier imposed as a suspended punishment for similar breaches on Match Day 17 fixture against Warri Wolves. The assaulted Assistant Referee and the injured Heartland official will be paid compensations of N250, 000 each from the fine.
Abia Warriors are being sanctioned for the conduct of its fans in the Match Day 34 fixture against FC IfeanyiUbah and has been fined a total of N2.5m in addition to playing two matches behind closed door.
The club was fined N1m for encroachment of fans into the field of play while a fine of N750, 000 is to be paid for the club’s failure to provide adequate security for the match officials immediately after the match. Each of the three match officials are to be paid N250, 000 each as compensation by the club for the assault perpetrated by their fans on the match officials. Abia Warriors are also to replace the FIFA match wrist watch the referee lost during the fracas.
According to the Summary Jurisdiction Notice issued the club, the fan(s) who assaulted the match officials must be apprehended by Abia Warriors and handed over to law enforcement agencies for prosecution. The sanction further ordered that should the club fail to produce the culprit(s) after seven days from the date of the notice, a fine of N250, 000 shall accrue for each day until the order is complied with.
The club has until close of business on Friday, September 16 to respond in writing indicating acceptance of the charges or electing to appear before a commission.
For performances that has been perceived to have raised integrity concerns in recent league matches, the League Management Company (LMC) has written to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) requesting for the immediate exclusion of 12 Referees from officiating in matches pending the review of their performances in the said matches.
The 12 match officials are made up of four center referees and eight assistant referees who officiated in fixtures of Match Day 33, 34 and 35. The matches are Match Day 33 in Makurdi between Nasarawa United and Rangers International, match day 34 fixture in Umuahia between Abia Warriors and FC IfeanyiUbah, match day 35 in Nnewi between FC IfeanyiUbah and Akwa United and that in Lokoja between Niger Tornadoes and Enyimba.
In the letter to the NFF President, the LMC disclosed that it would engage the leadership of the NFF Referees Committee and the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) to address perceived lapses that are capable of casting the game in disrepute.
It further noted that the LMC in asking for the exclusion of the match officials from further participation in NPFL matches did not intend to pass any form of judgment “until the relevant regulatory bodies have had an opportunity to review material evidence which we would make available at the consultative meeting, we are compelled by the exigency of time”.
The League body also explained that it has become necessary to take the step in response to overwhelming concerns from all NPFL participating clubs and interest from all stakeholders and the need to protect the competition.