Following a review of incidences that occurred during and after Match Day 20 fixtures in Enugu and Akure, the home sides, Rangers International and Sunshine Stars have been sanctioned by the League Management Company (LMC) which said the severe punishments are as a result of the two clubs being repeat offenders.
The LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko said the fines against the two clubs have been deliberate and exemplary taking into account that they have been previously reprimanded and fined for similar breaches.
“The League will continue to encourage fair competition; friendship and conducive atmosphere for players, match officials and fans such that any club or persons found to breach these values will be sanctioned to serve as deterrence to others”, Dikko said following the approval of the decisions by the LMC.
Supporters of the two clubs were found to have thrown objects into the field of play, encroached into on to the field of play as the club officials were not able to ensure adequate security.
Rangers International were charged for four breaches of the Framework and Rules in their match against Gombe United and subsequently fined a total of ₦6.5m (including ₦3m for disruption of video coverage of the match), a suspended three points’ deduction and two home matches behind closed doors.
In addition to the sanctions, the club was also directed to ensure that the fan identified as Baba Agu, who spearheaded the disruption of the video recording of the match is banned from all Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) matches and activities and his picture is to be published by the Club at the stadium entrances.
Sunshine Stars were fined a total of ₦5m, a suspended three points’ deduction and indefinite stadium closure to fans following findings that the clubs supporters encroached on the field of play, threw objects on to the field and assaulted the match officials in their match against Lobi Stars.
The fine includes ₦1m compensation to the match officials who were assaulted and a further payment of certified medical bills that may be presented by the match officials.
The Akure club was also directed to ensure the apprehension and handing over to security agents the fans that assaulted the match officials for prosecution.
Rangers were charged for breaches of Rule B13.18, Rule C9, B13.52 and B6.52. The charged read, “you are in breach of Rule B13.18 of the Framework and Rules of the Nigeria Professional Football League, in that on Sunday, 21st May, 2017, in the course of your Match Day 20 Fixture: Rangers International FC vs. Gombe United FC, in or about the 28th minute of the match, some of your supporters threw objects (including water sachets) towards Match Officials on the field of play, which caused a delay in the match”.
The second charge read, “you are in breach of Rule C9 of the Framework and Rules of the Nigeria Professional Football League, in that on Sunday, 21st May, 2017, in the course of your Match Day 20 Fixture: Rangers International FC vs. Gombe United FC, you failed to ensure the proper conduct of your officials who occupied the technical bench of your team, when they threatened and verbally harassed Match Officials”.
The league champions were also docked under rule B13.52 for failing to ensure restriction of access by unauthorized persons from all restricted areas in the course of the match which lead to some individuals gaining access to the tunnel leading to the dressing room with intention to intimidate match officials.
In the fourth count, Rangers were charged for breach of Rule B6.24 in that its agents hindered and prevented a part of the video recording of the match, including damage to a video camera tripod stand.
In the case of Sunshine Stars, the club was fined ₦1m for the conduct of the Supporters who threw objects towards the field of play and caused the match to be delayed, another ₦1m for failing to ensure proper conduct of the club officials in breach of Rule C9 and ₦1m for assault on match officials.
Sunshine Stars are also to pay ₦1m to the four match officials at ₦250, 000 each as compensation to the assaulted Match Officials (the Referee, the Assistant Referee I, the Assistant Referee II and the Reserve Referee), in addition to any certified costs of treatment.
The LMC ruled that Sunshine Stars are liable to deduction of three (3) points, the execution of which shall be suspended for a probationary period of the remainder of the season while the remaining home matches of the club shall be behind closed doors until the LMC is satisfies that adequate security and safety measures have been put in place to forestall a repeat occurrence.
Such security measure includes but not limited to providing a security plan, an orientation workshop for supporters, installation of inner perimeter fence and issuance of seat-numbered tickets.
Sunshine Stars FC is required, within seven (7) days, to identify and ensure the apprehension and prosecution by the relevant security agencies of the persons who assaulted the Match Officials, including one Rafiu Yusuf, said to be of the Welfare Department of the Club.
Failure to carry out this directive shall attract a further fine of ₦25,000 per day until such time as the culprits are apprehended and charged to court.
The individuals concerned are to be banned from all NPFL matches and activities and their pictures are to be published by the Club at the stadium entrances.
Should the club accept the ruling of the LMC in writing within 48hours, it is also expected in line with the resolution of all the clubs at the mid season review session in Abuja to pay the fines within 10 working days of issuance of the notice, which is on or before June 8, 2017.
A default in complying with the payment deadline attracts a walkover in scheduled matches until the fine is paid in full.
However, they also reserve the right to appeal the decision which must be submitted in writing within 48hours of the notice.