NPFL: Heavy hammer on Sunshine Stars, Ifeanyi Ubah, others

Shehu Dikko, LMC Chairman
Shehu Dikko, LMC Chairman
Sunshine Stars to pay over N6m fine
Sunshine Stars to pay over N6m fine
Billionaire proprietor, Ifeanyi Ubah warned to to bring armed aides to stadium
Billionaire proprietor, Ifeanyi Ubah warned to to bring armed aides to stadium
Heartland keeper, Ebele Obi get 6 match ban
Heartland keeper, Ebele Obi get 6 match ban

In keeping with its enforcement for the reforms of the Nigeria Professional Football League, the League Management Company, LMC, has brought down the stick on four top clubs and a number of officials for various offences.

The action derives from offences committed by the clubs and officials on match days 7, 8 and 9.

The clubs are Sunshine Stars of Akure, IfeanyiUbah FC, Giwa FC, Plateau United and Heartland of Owerri while the officials are the proprietor of IfeanyiUbah FC, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah, the media officer of Rangers International of Enugu, Foster Chime and the goalkeeper of Heartland FC, Ebele Obi. They have all been served notices of summary jurisdiction stating their offences and penalties and reprimands which they are to submit to or indicate in writing within stated time their disagreement and readiness to appeal the ruling of the league management.

In a statement by the LMC on Wednesday evening, Sunshine Stars was booked for for failure to ensure adequate security leading to disruption of complete television broadcast coverage of the match and the harassment and assault on visiting officials of Shooting Stars Sports Club in their match day 9 encounter at the Akure Township Stadium.

“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 the match.”

They were also fined N500, 000 for not controlling their supporters from harassing and assaulting a visiting club 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 restricted areas.

The LMC also insisted that Sunshine Stars must within 7 working days, not later than 5pm of Thursday, April 7, 2016, identify and ensure apprehension and prosecution by the relevant security agencies of the persons who entered the VIP area and harassed/assaulted officials of 3SC as well as the TV broadcast crew leading to the stoppage of the television coverage. Their failure to do so would attract further fine of N25,000.00 per day until such time that the offenders are apprehended and charged to court.
The LMC also said that the Akure Township stadium has been placed under close watch for Sunshine’s next three home games to enable it observe security arrangements 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
On its part, Giwa FC of Jos was faulted for issuing the same jersey number to two orbits players in breach of Rule B9.3 and punishable under Rule B3.12

The league managers observed that Bobby Abel wore jersey number 28 in their Match-day 7 fixture in Lagos against Ikorodu United whereas that same shirt number had already been allocated in their registration document to another of their player, Zubairu Aliyu.

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 for each of the two charges or indicate in writing a resolve to appeal the ruling.

Giwa’s sister club, Plateau United also came under the hammer for contravention of Rule B13.52 in 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. They are to pay a fine of N500, 000 and have been warned that a repeat of the breach would attract a stadium ban or banishment of the club to a neutral venue. They also may appeal the decision by signifying to the LMC in writing within 48 hours of the issuance of the charge.

FC IfeanyiUbah was charged for its supporters encroachment on the technical area immediately after their 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 or comply with the summary jurisdiction.

The multi-billionaire proprietor of the club, Chief Ubah was also reprimanded by the LMC for failing to show positive example by encroaching on the pitch and allegedly fueling the disturbances that led to the harassment of players of Heartland by his team members and personal aides.

Deriving from this incident, the LMC has sounded a general note of warning to all other club officials that it is forbidden for their aides and security details to bear arms into the stadium.

The Naze Millionaires, Heartland FC of Owerri are to pay N750,000 for breach of Rule C9 in failing to properly control their players after the match day 8 game against FC IfeanyiUbah. They were faulted for allowing their players to accost the match Referee in a manner that resulted in his being assaulted.

On a separate charge, Heartland’s goalkeeper Ebele Obi has been banned for six matches for assaulting the referee by pushing him down in the Heartland vs IfeanyiUbah in breach of Rule C11.

Similarly, 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. He however retains the right to appeal the decision.

Summary of sanctions:

Sunshine Stars:

. N5,000,000 + suspended deduction of 2 points for hinderance of TV coverage and broadcast

. N500,000 for allowing supporters to harass and assault visiting club officials

. N750,000 for not providing adequate security

. To pay N25,000 per day from April 7 until the supporters behind the attacks are apprehended and charged to court

Giwa FC:

. N100,000 for issuing num 28 jersey to two players

. N100,000 for improper shirt design

Plateau United:

. N500,000 for not providing adequate security

Heartland FC:

. N750,000 for failing to control players and officials and allowing them to assault match officials

FC IfeanyiUbah:

. N500,000 for not providing adequate security

Individual sanctions:

Chief Ifeanyi Ubah – Reprimanded for bringing armed aides to stadium

Ebele Obi, Heartland goalkeeper- 6 match ban for assaulting referee

Foster Chime, Rangers Media Officer – N100,000 for disrespect to match officials and bringing the league to disrepute


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Fred Edoreh - Publisher

Born July 13, 1965, Fred Edoreh hails from Umeh, Isoko South, Delta State. He attended St. John Primary School, Iselegu, Mater Dei Collage Ashaka, St. Patrick’s Grammar School, Asaba for HSC and graduated in English and Literary Studies at Bendel State University, Ekpoma.
He went into journalism in 1990 with Newbreed Magazine and later crossed over to television production with Ultimate Sports and Soccerworld on the Nigeria Televsion Authority.
He subsequently moved to pioneer Internet publishing in Nigeria with Nigeriasports.com and was later employed at Silverbird Television from where he moved as Editor of Weekend Sports at Naational Mirror Newspapers.
He currently publishes the online sports website www.sportstalkafrica.com besides and also runs a sports marketing outfit, Westcoast Works and Projects, managing and marketing live radio broadcast of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

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