EXCLUSIVE: Why FC Ifeanyi Ubah Refused To Honour Their Home Match Against MFM
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By Amaechi Agbo
There are indications that the recommencement of the second stanza of the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL did not go down without controversies.
From Katsina State to Anambra state, there are uneasy calm. In Katsina, for instance, the home side reportedly locked out their visitors Wikki Tourists of Bauchi out of the stadium and denied them entrance. When the match finally started, Wikki were pummeled 5-1 after the match.
However, in Enugu the s Tory is different. The match scheduled to hold at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium did not hold.
And for the first time in many years, a walkover was recorded in the NPFL after MFM FC of Lagos reportedly walkedover FC Ifeanyi Ubah in Enugu.
The walkover came as a huge shock to many with report claiming that the Anambra State based club did not show up for the match which of course was a home.
game for them.
However, investigation by Bestchoicesports.com.ng has shown that there are more to the situation than the public is aware.
A company source in the club who spoke to us but pleaded anonymity said the League Management Company wanted the club to play in Enugu against their wish.
The source noted that LMC despite agreeing that FC Ifeanyi Ubah should resume the second stanza at home in Nnwei, however expressed shock that the league managers renaged on that at dying minutes only to ask FC Ifeanyi Ubah to play their match against MFM in Enugu for broadcast reasons.
“My brother, this matter don tire me (I am tired of this situation). FC Ifeanyi Ubah want the match to be played in Nnewi but LMC insisted that it must be in Enugu. It was meant to be a double header so that it can be on NPFL TV.
“Because of that, our match against MFM would be the first match by 2pm then the South-East Oriental derby between Rangers and Enyimba will be by 4 pm. That was why it was that way.
“Initially it was on the ban (placed on FC Ifeanyi Ubah) based on security architecture and all that. They said we did not meet up with the framework and rules. We played the first game against Jigawa Golden Stars and others away from home before the season went on break.
“The club wrote to the LMC that we have put everything in place for the commencement of the second stanza of the league. They acknowledged our request but at the end, we are surprised that it turned out to be this way.
It is basically on that.
“I understand that the LMC gave them the nod that their home stadium in Nnewi can now host matches only for us to now see that we are expected to be in Enugu for the match (against MFM),” the source said.
The source went on to add that during the first round, FC Ifeanyi Ubah was forced, against their will by the LMC to play their match against Kano Pillars in Port Harcourt for same broadcast reason.
He added that although the club reluctantly agreed to okay the match there, the result went against them
“During the first round, we played Kano Pillars in Port Harcourt. Initially we vehemently opposed that but they gave same reason that it was a double header that they want the game to be on TV and that it makes sense to have the game there.
“We reluctantly agreed. At the end of the game, it did not favour us. We lost that match to Kano Pillars.
“So this one, the management said no, that the match must be played in Nnewi. For the fact that they (MFM) walked the team over is a surprising thing but I believe the management of the team will definitely respond to this in hours to come.”
The source further added that an LMC match delegate (name not mentioned) confirmed that the two matches were meant to be on television hence the demand by LMC that FC Ifeanyi Ubah played the match in Enugu.
“The information was that the two matches was made to be on NTA and NPFL TV. I spoke with one of the LMC match delegates and he told me that the two matches are going to be on TV and that was why they wanted the double header to be in Enugu.
“I can’t confirm which date LMC changed the match but there was initial agreement before the recommencement of the league that our matches will be played in Nnewi.
“What happened was that in our match against Rivers United, one of the irate fans approached the official at the stands and was saying nasty things to him.
“We got the man, arrested him and took him to the Match Commissioner who ordered him to leave the pitch. The fan apologized profusely before he left only for us to here that the incident were reported in the Match Commissioner’s and Referee’s reports. It was the two reports that indicted FC Ifeanyiubah which led to the sanction.”
Rangers Vs Enyimba was Not Shown On TV
Although LMC wanted the two matches, FC Ifeanyi Ubah vs MFM as well as Rangers Vs Enyimba to be played at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, for broadcasts reasons, investigation by Bestchoicesports.com.ng shows that no match was shown on television.
Both the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA and the NPFL.TV did not carry any live match.
A top official of the NTA told Bestchoicesports.com that the Largest Television Network in Africa did not telecast any match today.
He gave two reasons for the non telecast; “There are two major reasons. I think one, we try to, after the first round, to reconcile what have happened so far. That is what we are planning to do.
“(Secondly) We are fixing this week to do the meeting and since we have not done the meeting, that is why we have not started coverage again.
“We did not stop coverage of the league, we were still taking matches involving Enyimba in Champions League (Confederation Cup)
“We are meeting this week and once we meet, we will conclude,” the source said.
Two Different Punishments For Similar Offences
In March this year, the League Management Company sanctioned Sunshine Stars and FC Ifeanyiubah after dressing room disturbances.
While Sunshine Stars were banished to Lagos, FC Ifeanyiubah were banished to Enugu over dressing room’ disturbance that marred both teams’ Match Day 15 games.
But in passing the punishment, while LMC expressly stated that Sunshine Stars were banished for ONLY TWO matches, the League body was silent on the number of games FC Ifeanyi Ubah were to play away from home.