CAF Champions League Slot: NFF Orders Rivers United To Tender Apology Within 48 Hours

CAF Champions League Slot: NFF Orders Rivers United To Tender Apology Within 48 Hours

By Amaechi Agbo

The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF have ordered Nigeria Professional Football League side, Rivers United Football Club to tender an unreserved apology to the federation within 48 hours or face disciplinary action, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report.

The order to apologize without reservation, according the federation, is sequel to the Rivers United Football Club’s press release with regards to how the nation’s football governing body drew up the final table of the 2019/2020 NPFL season after the league was aborted due to COVID-19 outbreak.

In the final table of the past season, Rivers United FC were placed 3rd despite having equal number of points but had superior goal difference against 2nd placed club, Enyimba FC of Aba.

By the placement, Enyimba were handed CAF Champions League slot while Rivers United were handed CAF Confederation Cup.

A move the Port Harcourt based side repudiated via a press statement after the final table was made public on Monday by the NFF Football Committee.

Rivers United consequently rejected the final table insisting that it deserved to be second based on the application of the rule of goal difference as against head-to-head rule which NFF and LMC adopted.

Sequel to this, the NFF in a two-page letter dated August 27, ordered the Rivers United Football Club to within 20 hours tender an apology failure of which it will be meted with disciplinary actions.

The letter with Ref. No: NFF/OGS/GEN/V01. XX11/020
signed by the General Secretary of the NFF, Dr Mohammed Sanusi
quoted a section of the press release for which the club is asked to apologise “deep reservations about certain half-truths, deliberate distortion Of facts and obvious misinformation” from within Rivers United Football Club; with allegations that the club is “being denied their rights owing to attempts by some people to deliberately shortchange the club” in what is described as “a clear case of injustice and undue victimization.”

The letter further frowned at a comment made by the club which the federation founds to be also disparaging of the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Chairman of the League Management Company Ltd. (LMC); for instance, the insinuation regarding a trip by the President of the NFF to Abia State, as well as the statement that the President of the NFF and the Chairman of the LMC and their co-travellers “are taking football in Nigeria fifty (50) years behind.”

Citing codes of conduct of the federation the club is alleged to have breached, the letter noted “Furthermore, the Code of Conduct for Club officials under the NPFL Framework Rule E 1.6 clearly stipulates that club officials shall “Not use inappropriate language during or after match conferences or at media briefings

“Fundamentally, this action by Rivers United is clearly a breach of the stipulations of the NFF Code Of Ethics and the NFF Statutes 2010 with regards to the responsibilities and obligations of a member Of the NFF.

“You are therefore advised to publicly repudiate and/or withdraw the disparaging statements and tender a public apology within 48 hours, upon the failure of which appropriate disciplinary actions would be taken against Rivers United Football Club within the necessary provisions of the NFF Statutes 2010, The NFF Ethics Code and indeed the NPFL Framework and Rules.

“The above is for your information and necessary action.”

The letter is hereunder reproduced:

Nigeria Football Federation
Office of the General Secretary
Headquarters:

plot 2033, Oiusegun Obasanjo Way, Zone 7, Wuse. Box 5101, Carki – Abuja, Nigeria
Founded 1945 Email:
Ref. No: NFF/OGS/GEN/V01. XX11/020 27th August, 2020

The Chairman
Rivers United Football Club
Through
The Chairman
Rivers State Football Association,
Port Harcourt
Rivers State

Dear Sir,

PRESS STATEMENT ATTRIBUTED TO RIVERS UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB
Our attention has been drawn to recent media reports of a press statement attributed to Rivers United Football Club, with regard to the conclusion of the 2019/2020 season and the adoption of the Points-Per-Game model to homologate the table.

The reports indicate what is quoted as “deep reservations about certain half-truths, deliberate distortion Of facts and obvious misinformation” from within Rivers United Football Club; with allegations that the club is “being denied their rights owing to attempts by some people to deliberately shortchange the club” in what is described as “a clear case of injustice and undue victimization.”

While the right Of a football club to appeal against a decision is acknowledged, it is important to highlight that these statements attributed to your club were also disparaging of the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Chairman of the League Management Company Ltd. (LMC); for instance, the insinuation regarding a trip by the President of the NFF to Abia State, as well as the statement that the President of the NFF and the Chairman of the LMC and their co-travellers “are taking football in Nigeria fifty (50) years behind.”

According to Rule A5.5.2 of the Framework and Rules of the Nigeria Professional Football League – “No Club either by itself its servants or agents shall by any means whatsoever unfairly criticize, disparage, belittle or discredit any other Club or the LMC or in either case any of its directors, Officers, employees or agents.

Furthermore, the Code of Conduct for Club offcials under the NPFL Framework Rule E 1.6 clearly stipulates that club officials shall “Not use inappropriate language during or after match conferences or at media briefings
Fundamentally, this action by Rivers United is clearly a breach of the stipulations of the NFF Code Of Ethics and the NFF Statutes 2010 with regards to the responsibilities and obligations of a member Of the NFF.
You are therefore advised to publicly repudiate and/or withdraw the disparaging statements and tender a public apology within 48 hours, upon the failure of which appropriate disciplinary actions would be taken against Rivers United Football Club within the necessary provisions of the NFF Statutes 2010, The NFF Ethics Code and indeed the NPFL Framework and Rules. The above is for your information and necessary action.

DR. MOHAMMED SANUSI GENERAL SECRETARY
League Management Company (LMC)

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