The League Management Company, LMC, has punished Heartland FC and Champions Pleateau United, following the incident that over-shadowed the Matchday 18 NPFL match between the two sides in Owerri, Imo state.
The LMC dished out a three-point deduction from Heartland FC, alongside an order to play their next three games behind closed doors. The club was also fined N6,250,000. According to the League body, the fine includes N1m for encroachment after the match, N500,000 for failing to restrict unauthorized persons access to restricted areas during the match, N1m for assault on match officials. It also said the club should pay N1.25m as compensation to match officials, N500,000 for failure to use and issue tickets for record and crowd control purposes, N1m for issuing public statement capable of bringing the league into disrepute and N1m for unfairly criticizing and discrediting match officials who were injured after the game.
The LMC also suspended Heartland's team manager, Mobi Oparaku from all league activities for next matches for breaching Rule C-13 of the rule and framework of the league.
Plateau United was also hammered a fine of N1m for “issuing, permitted or caused to be issued public statements regarding incidents arising from the said match, the manner and content of which were not in the best interest of the game and capable of bringing the game into disrepute”.
Similarly, MFM was fined N3m total for three breaches of the Rules and Framework, which included, failure to control their crowd, provide adequate security and, control and ensure that club officials behave properly.
In another development, the LMC also recommended the Match Commissioner and the referee of the Heartland versus Plateau United match, Rowland Abu and Yusuf Garba respectively to the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, for disciplinary action.
The match commissioner was said to have failed to give a detailed account of the incident in the game, which the League body perceived As a "misgiving".
The LMC also noted that “It is also of concern that the Match Commissioner’s report suggests personal conflict and or interference with the Referee in the discharge of their respective functions, which is suggestive of the need for further investigation”.
The LMC in recommending the referee for withdrawal from officiating in the NPFL, wrote: “the performance and conduct of the above-named match official was obviously well below the high standard expected in the Nigeria Professional Football League, including questionable actions and decisions as well as failure to submit match report on time.”
The clubs have been given 48 hours to respond either in writing, or choose to appear before the NFF Disciplinary Committee.