LMC, NWFL, NNL, NLO Boards Do Not Have Powers To Sanction Clubs
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By Amaechi Agbo
The League Management Company, LMC organisers of the Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL; the Nigeria Women’s Football League NWFL; the Nigeria National League, NNL and the Nationwide League One, NLO do not have powers to sanction, punish or reprimand clubs participating in their leagues,
www.bestchoicesports.com.ng can report.
Former Nigeria Premier League, NPL and second Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Chief Ramson Baribote stated this on Friday.
In an exclusive interview with Best Choice Sports, the chairman of Nembe City Football Club opined that the league organisers lack the statutory powers to sanction, punish or reprimand clubs playing in the various leagues in the country.
Chief Baribote, a legal practitioner, stated this in the wake of two million naira fine imposed on Naija Ratels Football Club by the Nigeria Women’s Football League NWFL board on Thursday which have generated wide views on its desirability.
In announcing the heavy sanction, the NWFL board said “In case of Naija Ratels, the letter addressed to the club Chairman, Barrister Edeh, and signed by the Chief Operating Officer of the NWFL, Modupe Shabi, the Women’s league board, stated that: “We kindly refer you to the Match No. 2 between Nasarawa Amazons FC and Naija Ratels FC, scheduled for the 16th May, 2022 in Benin City, Edo State. You will recall that your club failed to wear the Tulcan Energy branded jerseys even though the other participating teams agreed to wear the sponsors jersey. This single action by Naija Ratels FC almost brought the game to disrepute and the credibility of the league into question.”
“In view of the above, Naija Ratels FC contravened the NWFL Statutes on Sponsorship, in Articles 7.8, 7.9, 7.10.
And consequent upon these, Article 23.2.2 says:” Any club owner/official that brings the game into disrepute or ridicule the NWFL in public through utterances, misconduct, communication or any form of communication will be sanctioned with the payment of the sum of (N2,000,000) Two million naira, and three months suspension.”
However, Chief Baribote have countered the decision of the NWFL board stating that no league organisers or boards have the right to interpret its own laws adding that such power is domiciled with the Nigeria Football Federation Disciplinary Committee.
“If I comment on this they will rain insults on me. Where is our football really heading to? I don’t understand. The League Board is likened to that of the Police who prepares the case file and take to court for interpretation. They (Police) cannot sentence or impose punishment on anyone based on alleged breaches. Such powers resides with the judiciary in the instant case with the judicial body of the Nigeria Football Federation as clearly stated in Article 64 of the NFF Statutes, The Judicial Bodies;
- The Disciplinary Committee
- The Appeals Committee
“So if one is dissatisfied with the verdict of the Disciplinary Committee you can then appeal the verdict/ decision of the Disciplinary Committee to the Appeals Committee,” he said.
When asked about the fact that the LMC have been sanctioning clubs from time immemorial, Chief Baribote said that the fact that the league organisers are flagrantly arrogating to themselves powers they do not have does not make the situation right.
“The law is settled that one cannot be a judge in his own cause. The League Board cannot interpret and enforce their Rules/Laws. I stand to be corrected. I once headed the Premier League Board and again these Club Chairmen do they ( League Board) accord them the opportunity to appear and defend themselves?
“If the League Board imposes such fines and suspension what will the Disciplinary Committee do? With what is stated above it amounts to usurpation of the powers of the judicial bodies of the NFF by the League Boards and such decision cannot stand in the face of this.
“There is separation of powers, the judicial bodies of the NFF cannot organize League Football/ Games and the League Board likewise cannot function as the judicial organ of the NFF. But wetin I sabi sef …” he concluded colloquially