The League Management Company has recommended the suspension of 15 officials who officiated in 5 match-day 14 fixtures of the Nigerian Professional Football League.
Some of the officials include Moroof Afolabi, Akinsanya Segun and Alhaji Alhaji who officiated the game between Go Round FC and Enugu Rangers.
Also recommended for suspension are the officials who took charge of the games between Heartland and Nasarawa United, Lobi Stars vs Rivers United, Yobe Stars and Enyimba and FC Ifeanyiubah versus Plateau United.
According to the LMC, the referees were well below the standard expected in the NPFL including questionable decisions and failure to submit match reports on time.
The National Association of Nigerian Professional Footballers (NANPF) has vowed to keep up pressure on clubs to pay their players their wages and salaries.
The renewed commitment came after the association reached an agreement with the League Management Company to work together in ensuring backlogs are settled.
The 2016/2017 Premier League season begins on Saturday with many clubs yet to pay their players and coaches their salaries and bonuses from previous seasons.
NANPF General Secretary, Austin Popo, who expressed his disappointment with the refusal of the majority of the clubs to pay their players, said the body had decided to work with the LMC.
It was learnt that the players’ union and other groups had allegedly pressured the LMC to suspend the league until the players were paid their entitlements.
It was also learnt that the groups decided to make a U-turn after allegedly coming under pressure from some of the clubs and the LMC.
However, Popo said the players’ body would put defaulting clubs under pressure through the LMC for the players to be paid their entitlements.
The former Flying Eagles forward said that Warri Wolves, Taraba United and Heartland were among the clubs still owing their players.
According to Popo, “The painful thing about the debts owed these players by the clubs is that the managers and owners of these clubs are frustrating our efforts at retrieving the debts, hence we have decided to work directly with the LMC, who have assured us that the debts would be paid before the new season begins, to avoid a repeat of the past situations.
“These club owners have some recovered monies paid to them but they have refused to pay their players.
“Many club owners have these monies but divert them and conveniently owe these players knowing full well that the players would not want to go on strike when we call on them to do so.
“The players only speak out after leaving the clubs owing them for another one, hence they don’t help the cause.”
He added: “In the new season, players’ welfare is going to be our major focus as we have always done.
“We have met with the LMC and the list of players who are owed by their clubs and their account numbers have been forwarded to them (LMC). The LMC will pay them from the entitlements due to the indebted clubs.
“Some clubs have been responding. For instance, Bayelsa United and Gombe United have paid their players as of last week.
“Although the LMC have been doing a lot since they came on board, we have met with them and let them understand that the wages issue could cause disruptions in the league if not properly handled.”
The Management of the Ondo State Football Agency, ODSFA has inaugurated the Sunshine Stars’ U-13, U-15 and U-17 teams.
This, according to the agency, was in a bid to ensure that talented footballers in all the nooks and crannies of the state are given opportunity to be part of Sunshine Stars,
The ceremony took place at the football village office of the state football agency at Oda road in Akure.
Addressing the players, President of Sunshine Stars Football Club, Prince Dapo Ajibade, while congratulating the players, charged them to live up to their dreams.
Prince Ajibade, who is also the ODSFA boss, stressed the importance of the project.
According to him, the project will be coordinated by the Technical Department of the agency under the supervision of Deputy Director, Mr Kayode Julius.
“We thank God Almighty for this day as we begin another process of football development. It is very important to have Sunshine Stars’ teams at the U-13, U15 and U-17 levels so as to give room for development and progression in addition to empowering and giving future to the talented players”.
The ODSFA Chairman added that the agency would make available all logistics to make the project huge success, as sporting equipment needed would be provided.
“25 balls will be given to each team which will also get 2 sets of bibs as well as some medical facilities in addition to soccer boots that will be given to each of the 25 players in each team.
“Coach Chinedu Obi is in charge of the U-13 team while Coach Sunday Adewoye will tutor the U-15 team, just as Coach Monday Eche will oversee the players at the U-17 level.
“The teams’ general coordinator is Mr Shina Afuye while Mr Abideen Ayeloja will serve as the teams’ manager,” he said.
The Technical Director of the agency, coach Sunday Erelesusi charged all members of the technical staff to show good morals and commitment needed to mentor the young talents.
Meanwhile, the ODSFA Management has approved the appointment of Mr Abiodun Kehinde Johnson, popularly known as Legacy as one of the scouts working for Sunshine Stars.
Abiodun Kehinde Johnson as a footballer had stints with Works Rangers of Akure, Crown of Ogbomoso, 1st Bank of Lagos, Rising Stars of Ondo and Sunshine Stars of Akure.
The new Sunshine Stars Scout promised to use his wealth of experience to bring quality players to the Akure based team.
Sunshine Stars and Abia Warriors have been sanctioned by the League Management Company, (LMC), for disruptive behaviour by their fans in recent matches in the Nigerian football league.
A total fine of 2.7 million naira has been imposed on the Sunshine Stars for breaching various rules including failure to provide adequate security, as well as for assaulting match officials.
The assaulted assistant referee and the injured Heartland official will be paid compensations of 250,000 naira each from the fine.
Abia Warriors on the other hand, were sanctioned for the conduct of their fans in the match day 34 fixture, against FC Ifeanyi Ubah and have been fined a total of 2.5 million naira, in addition to playing two matches behind closed door.
The club management has been given until close of business on Friday, September 16, to respond in writing, indicating acceptance of the charges or electing to appear before a commission.
According to the Summary Jurisdiction Notice issued to the club, the fans who assaulted the match officials must be apprehended by Abia Warriors and handed over to law enforcement agencies for prosecution.
A High Court in Bukuru, Plateau State, has suspended the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The court said the suspension would be operational until the League Management Company (LMC) fully complied with its earlier order to reinstate Giwa Football Club to the professional league competition.
Justice Ishaku Kunda in his ruling on Wednesday granted the plaintiff’s prayer for the re-validation of the earlier order, following LMC’s failure to honour the court’s order.
He ordered that the league be suspended until the determination of the appeal filed by the defendants at the upper court.
Justice Kunda said the order was issued to ensure the case did not become an academic exercise, since the league was about to be concluded.
Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side, Ikorodu United of Lagos, has secured approval from the League Management Company (LMC) to play their remaining home fixtures of the season at the MKO Abiola stadium in Abeokuta.
The struggling Lagos club were penalised by the LMC for crowd trouble during their week 30 fixture against the Shooting Stars of Ibadan.
After the penalty, the Oga boys were directed to continue the rest of the season in Lagos.
But the club side said they would prefer to stay in the southwest town of Abeokuta since they could not guarantee the full control of the crowd and general safety at the Onikan stadium in Lagos.
Representatives of the governments of Nigeria and Spain witnessed the landmark signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a five-year technical and commercial partnership between the League Management Company of Nigeria (LMC) and the Spanish League Board (LFP).
Chairman of the LMC, Shehu Dikko, singed for the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) while the President of LaLiga, Javier Tebas signed for the Spanish League, with Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, and the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Alfonso Barnuevo Sebastian de Erice, counter- signing as witnesses for their respective national leagues.
A New Page In History
Highlighting the long standing sporting relationship between the two leagues was the presence of some former Nigerian international players who at some stages in the past played for La Liga clubs – Victor Ikpeba, who played for Real Betis, Mutui Adepoju, who played for Racing Santander and Real Sociedad, Gbenga Okunowo and Haruna Babangida, both of whom played for Barcelona clubs.
While Dalung described the relationship as “a new page in the history of football administration in Nigeria, Banuevo offered assurances that the partnership would produce “a win-win outcome” for both Nigeria and Spain.
For Dikko, the LMC chairman, the NPFL and La Liga partnership marks the beginning of “a journey through a new road hitherto not travelled in an effort to deliver on our mandate to improve the quality and fortunes of the football league in Nigeria along international best practices.”
“We are pleased to be leading reforms and to achieve that, we decided to align with global best practices by emulating those doing things well and right. We have a lot to learn and benefit from the La Liga and we believe that the La Liga also has some things to learn from us,” Dikko said.
The partnership agreement, which will run for five years will in the first instance focus on key areas of capacity development, training for coaches and club administrators; inter club exchanges and commercial activities including joint marketing.
“There is a fight for the heart and pocket of Nigerians to love and buy into our domestic football league and La Liga is ready to work with us on that.
“Stakeholders are already getting interested, as they have seen one of the best leagues in the world associating with us.
“This will help us move forward and many more good things will follow. We shall move from this point to a point where we will in turn begin to support other leagues in Africa,” the LMC Chairman stated.
Tebas said that the La Liga will through the partnership provide assistance to the NPFL in the areas of training of Coaches, club administrators and exchange of playing tours by La Liga and NPFL Clubs.
“For us at La Liga, if through this partnership, the NPFL is developed, it is of benefit for La Liga,” declared the Spanish League President.
He said: “We would also be assisting Nigerian players where possible to get chances to play for La Liga Clubs”.
Ambassador Barnuevo, who had earlier received officials of the LMC and the La Liga on Monday and further graced the signing ceremony, said he was pleased to witness the epoch making event.
“I know how Nigerians love football and I can tell you that in this relationship, Nigeria and Spain will win. We already have strong social and economic relations and this MOU will further strengthen our sporting ties. We take this relationship serious because the La Liga is one of the most important companies in Spain.”
Nigeria’s Youth and Sports Minister, who had also received officials of both leagues in his office on Monday, also expressed delight at the consummation of the agreement and gave assurances that the partnership would unbundle and open up platforms for the exchange of ideas to engage young Nigerians.
“It will transcend beyond football to other areas and while we shall be relying on the expertise of the La Liga to improve our league, we also have something to offer which will benefit La Liga.”
The signing of the partnership, he said, was ” a mark of confidence and trust in Nigeria football and we look forward to more robust engagement in future”.
Match Day 2 fixtures involving three clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) have been rescheduled and will now be played on March 16, 2016.
The fixtures are Akwa United versus Ikorodu United, Enyimba International versus Shooting Stars and FC Ifeanyi Ubah vs Nasarawa United.
Chief Operating Officer of the League Management Company, Salihu Abubakar, explained that the Match Day 2 fixtures have been postponed because the clubs will be involved in continental competitions. Match Day 3 fixtures involving the three clubs will accordingly be played on March 23, 2016.
“The clubs were already not in the Match Day 3 fixtures due to their continental fixtures holding on the weekend of February 26-28 but we have received representations from officials of the three clubs pleading to be allowed to focus on their continental fixtures”, Abubakar explained.
Nasarawa United are already billed to leave for Dakar, Senegal on Tuesday for the second leg of their CAF Confederation Cup tie against AS Academie Demonstration Foot. The first leg ended with the Lafia side in a narrow 2-1 win.
Enyimba International will host Vipers of Uganda in the second leg of the CAF Champions League after losing the first leg 1-0 in Kampala. The match will hold at the Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
Akwa United will also play their second leg tie of the CAF Confederations Cup against Vita Club de Mokanda of Congo.
Abubakar said the adjustment in fixtures will not affect other clubs whose games will be played this Wednesday as previously scheduled.
Match Day 1 of the Nigeria Professional Football League recorded 17 goals, four away victories, three draws and three home wins.
The Nigeria Professional Football League side, Dolphins FC, has been renamed Rivers United by the Rivers State Government.
The League Management Company (LMC) confirmed that the name change was agreed on Thursday following a “formal request by the government of Rivers State.”
The Chairman of the LMC, Shehu Dikko, explained that the name change was granted since it was not offensive or prejudicial to national unity and is also agreeable with community identity, supporters and follower-ship.
Rivers United will start the new Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season at home against Enyimba on Sunday.