LMC Hammer: Niger Tornadoes Banished To Abuja, Fined N5.5 Million
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By Ebube Dike
Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL newcomers, Niger Tornadoes of Minna, have been banished to play their home matches in the Federal Capital, Abuja even as the club was fined five million five hundred thousand Naira only by the League Management Company, LMC.
In a decision released Monday concerning match officials assault and insecurity during Niger Tornadoes ba Rivers United Clash in Ilorin on Saturday, LMC sanctioned Tornadoes for breach of the NPFL Rules and Framework in the course of the match.
In the Summary Jurisdiction exercised, Niger Tornadoes and two of their officials have been sanctioned just as the LMC has requested the Nigeria Referees Appointment Committee to review the performance of the Centre Referee in the MatchDay 5 fixture.
Following preliminary investigations and consideration of reports from the Match Commissioner, Match Referee and the Referees Assessor, the LMC charged Tornadoes for breaches of Rule B13.52, C0 and B13.21, resolving to fine the club a total of N5.5m, to play their next three home matches at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja and a suspended two points deduction.
Umar Farouk, the Chief Coach of Niger Tornadoes was charged with breach of Rule C11 for assault on the Referee when he struck a blow to his head as the Referee proceeded towards the dressing room at halftime. The LMC consequently has expelled Farouk from all NPFL organized activities with immediate effect. The LMC also recommended for a review of his coaching license by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as he is deemed to have failed the threshold to be a coach under the NFF licence.
Flowing from incidences of the same match, the LMC has also ordered the immediate expulsion of Bello Mohammed, the Goalkeeper Trainer of Niger Tornadoes for breach of Rule C11 in that he struck several blows to the face of the Referee as he proceeded towards the dressing room at the end of the match. His Coaching license has equally been recommended for withdrawal as he has shown lack of character fitness to hold an NFF Licence.
The LMC detailed the charges and sanctions on the club, its officials and recommendations to the NFF and Referees appointment committee in separate Summary Jurisdiction notices signed by the Chief Operating Officer, Salihu Abubakar and dated January 10, 2022.
For Match Referee, Oluwabunmmi Olayombo from the Ondo State Referees Council, the LMC wrote to the NFF Referees Appointment Committee, stating that “we wish to bring to your notice the complaint about the Referee appointed for the above-mentioned match…” and requested a review of the standard and quality of performance of the Referee, which it stated, might have incited incidents of security breaches and misconduct among supporters and club officials. The LMC went on to seek a review of his suitability for further matches in the NPFL.
The case against the club read, “that you are in breach of Rule B13.52 in that on Saturday, the 8th of January 2022, you did not fulfill your responsibility, as the designated home team, to ensure effective security for persons involved in the match, wherein it is alleged that the Referee was assaulted by officials of your club on two occasions, during the half-time interval and after the match, as the match officials proceeded to leave the pitch.
“That you are in breach of Rule C9 in that on Saturday, the 8th of January 2022, you did not fulfill your requirement to control your officials and ensure their proper conduct at all times, wherein it is alleged that your Chief Coach assaulted the Referee while on his way to the dressing room during the half-time interval, and your Goalkeeper Trainer also assaulted the Referee while on his way to the dressing room after the match.
“That you are in breach of Rules B13.21 (disturbances), C1 (misconduct), punishable by virtue of B15.17 (supporters) in that on Sunday, the 2nd of January 2022, supporters of your club caused disturbances, which resulted in delay in the restart of the second half, and conducted themselves in a manner capable of bringing the game to disrepute”.
For the beaches, the LMC resolved to fine the club, of N 3m for failure to provide effective security in the course of the match, N 2m for conduct capable of bringing the game to disrepute and N250, 000 to be paid as compensation for each of the physical assault to the assaulted match official, including any additional verifiable and authenticated medical cost.
Other sanctions include an order moving Niger Tornadoes to the M.K.O. Abiola Stadium, Abuja, for a minimum of its next three home matches; provided that Niger Tornadoes shall only be permitted to return to its home stadium upon the LMC receiving a satisfactory report or update on the formal report to the Police and prosecution of the officials involved in the alleged assault. The LMC emphasized that the prosecution must be authenticated by its Legal team and Compliance Unit.
The rest sanctions are that the payment of the fines must be made within seven working days and a further suspended two-point deduction which shall subsist for a probationary period of the remainder of the season.
All those charged and sanctioned by the LMC are by virtue of Rule C26 required to within 48 hours of the date of the notice to either submit to the Summary Jurisdiction and the sanctions contained or elect to appear before a disciplinary panel.