Following some infractions recorded across some match centers over three match days, the League Management Company (LMC) has issued summary jurisdiction notices to clubs and individuals found culpable and imposed fines and warnings against further commission of the offences.
Some of the clubs include Sunshine Stars, Plateau United, FC IfeanyiUbah, Heartland and Giwa FC while the individuals are PROPRIETOR of FC IfeanyiUbah, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah, Heartland goalkeeper, Ebele Obi and the Media Officer of Rangers International, Forster Chime who were all charged for various breaches of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) regulations on match days 7, 8 and 9.
The cases against Sunshine Stars were established from the fall-out of their match day 9 encounter with Shooting Stars Sports Club in which the club was cited for failure to ensure adequate security leading to disruption of complete television broadcast coverage of the match.
In three separate charges, Sunshine Stars was cited for breaches of rules B6.23, C1 and B13.52 by the LMC and SANCTIONED under Rules B13.23 and B15.16 with fines of N5,000,000 and a suspended two points deduction for hindrance of broadcast TOWARDS THE END OF YHE MATCH. Sunshine Stars have also been fined N500, 000 for not controlling their Supporters from harassing and assaulting a visiting club’s official while another fine of N750, 000 was levied on the Akure-based club for failure to ensure adequate security and ALLOWING access to unauthorized persons to all restricted areas.
The LMC further ruled that “Sunshine Stars FC is required, within 7 working days (i.e. not later than 5:00pm on Thursday 7th April, 2016), to identify and ensure apprehension and prosecution by the relevant security agencies, the persons who entered the VIP area and harassed/assaulted officials of the visiting team DURING THIER MATCH WITH 3SC and the persons that harassed the TV broadcast crew leading to the stoppage of the television coverage, failure of which a fine of N25,000.00 (Twenty Five Thousand Naira only) per day shall accrue, until such time the offenders are apprehended and charged to court.
Akure Township stadium has been placed under close watch for the next three home games of Sunshine Stars to enable the league authorities observe security arrangement and general fans’ conduct to determine whether or not further sanctions will be imposed which may include stadium ban, closure to fans or banishment of the club to a neutral venue.
Giwa FC was cited for the breach of Rule B9.3 in allocating a jersey number to two different players of the club. Bobby Abel wore jersey number 28 in their Match-day 7 fixture in Lagos against Ikorodu United whereas that shirt number had already been allocated in their registration document to another player, Zubairu Aliyu. This breach, the LMC ruled was punishable under Rule B3.12.
In a second charge against the Club, the LMC cited a breach of Rule B9.9 in that the style, size, design, lettering and material on the shirt of the player, Bobby Abel was not consistent with that approved for the league, an offence punishable under Rule B9.12.
Giwa FC was issued a 48 hours notice to submit to the decision of the LMC and pay a fine of N100, 000 each for the two-count charge or indicate in writing a resolve to appeal the ruling.
In a separate charge, Plateau United was charged for breach of Rule B13.52 for their failure to ensure adequate security, crowd control and restriction of access to unauthorized persons from all restricted areas in their Match Day 9 fixture against MFM at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos.
The club has been fined N500, 000 and warned that a repeat of the breach would attract a stadium ban or banishment of the club to a neutral venue. Plateau United however also may appeal the decision by signifying to the LMC in writing within 48 hours of the issuance of the charge.
Rangers Media Officer, Forster Chime was charged for breaches of Rule C1 and Clause 1 of the Code of Conduct for Club Officials following his comments on match officials after the Match Day 8 fixture between Lobi Stars and Rangers in Makurdi.
In the first charge, Chime was cited for making a statement and conducting himself in a manner capable of bringing the NPFL to disrepute. The Rangers spokesman had claimed that the club’s 3-1 loss to Lobi Stars in the fixture was aided by the Center Referee and his assistants.
Chime was also charged with use of inappropriate language and failure to show respect to match officials following his comments that they were unprofessional in their conduct and officiating of the match. The LMC ruled that he failed to show positive example to players, supporters and others by such comments and fined him N100, 000, though he retains the right to appeal the decision.
FC IfeanyiUbah was charged for the encroachment of their supporters on the technical area immediately after the match against Heartland and acting in a manner capable of bringing the league to disrepute contrary to Rule 13.8 of the Rules and Framework. The club was also charged for failure to ensure adequate security, crowd control and access to unauthorized persons to restricted areas contrary to Rule B13.52. FC IfeanyiUbah was accordingly fined N500, 000 on each of the two breaches and allowed 48 hours to appeal the ruling in writing to appear before a commission or submit to the decision of the LMC.
Arising from the infraction on the day, Chief Ubah was also reprimanded by the LMC for failing to show positive example by encroaching on the pitch and fueling the disturbances that led to the harassment of players of Heartland by his team members and personal aides. The LMC said the reprimand is a general warning to all other club officials who are reminded that it is forbidden for aides and security details to bear arms into the stadium.
Heartland FC was cited for breach of Rule C9 by failing to properly control their players after the match day 8 game against FC IfeanyiUbah which led to their accosting of the match Referee in a manner that resulted in his being assaulted. The club was consequently fined N750, 000.
Goalkeeper Obi of Heartland was separately charged for breach of Rule C11 in that he assaulted the Referee by pushing him down and was banned from all NPFL activities and matches for six matches.