NPFL: SWAN Calls On NFF To Reverse 3 Points, 3 Goals Deduction Against Bayelsa United - EDU-BIZNEWS


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

NPFL: SWAN Calls On NFF To Reverse 3 Points, 3 Goals Deduction Against Bayelsa United

Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN) Bayelsa State Chapter is calling on the Nigeria Football Federation to reinstate the three points and three goals deducted from Bayelsa United in their Nigeria Professional Football League Match Day Five 2022/2023 Season’s game against Doma United on February 1, 2023 at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa.

Following an incident of an alleged assault on Assistant Referee Ojeleye Ebenezer by a spectator, the Interim Management Committee had ruled that Bayelsa United failed to provide adequate security for match officials in the match, saying it was in breach of Rule B.8.21 of the Framework and Rules of the Nigeria Premier Football League.

But the State chapter of SWAN in a statement by its Chairman, Alambo Datonye and Secretary, Preye Yabrifa explained that Bayelsa United had appealed to the Nigeria Football Federation Disciplinary Committee establishing with evidence that it had provided logistics to the Bayelsa State Football Association to provide adequate security for match officials as required in Rule 8.21 of the Framework and Rules of the NPFL.

Despite tendering receipt of payment in which  35 policemen were deployed on the said Match Day, the NFF Disciplinary Committee in its sitting on 26th and 27th April, 2023 adopted the sanctions prescribed by the IMC deducting three points and three goals from the accumulated points and goals of Bayelsa United and payment of two hundred and fifty thousand (#250,000)Naira to the Assistant Referee for failing to provide adequate security for match officials and failing to restrict access by unauthorized persons to all restricted areas in breach of rule B.13.52 of the Framework and Rules of the NPFL.

SWAN Bayelsa notes that by virtue of Article 78 of the NFF Statutes, the NFF organizes football competitions including the NPFL. Paragraph 2 of Article 78 states clearly that the NFF may delegate to its subordinate its roles, in this instance which is the Bayelsa State Football Association,which is charged with the duty of organizing the said game including responsibility for the provision of security.

"Our argument is, since Bayelsa United has established with evidence that resources were made available to the State FA to organize the match, why punish the club for any alleged breach in that direction."

"For the purpose of emphasis, Bayelsa United provided finance to the State FA in line with the NFF Statutes and directives to cater for security, medicals, referees accommodation etc.", SWAN stated

Furthermore, the said spectator who allegedly assaulted the match official was neither an official, player, supporter nor fan of Bayelsa United, so why punish the club over what it knows nothing about. Since the Spectator is being punished, why extend it to the club as he is neither a supporter, player or official of the team?

In lieu of the above, it is the position of SWAN Bayelsa that the three points, three goals deducted from Bayelsa United in that encounter was a gross miscarriage of justice, and should therefore not stand. The IMC and the NFF Disciplinary Committee obviously erred in their rulings on the matter.

It is curious that while the NFF Disciplinary Committee deducted three points and three goals from Bayelsa United, it failed to do so against Wikki Tourists of Bauchi in their home match against Bayelsa United even when officials of Bayelsa United were assaulted and fans of Wikki were engage in unruly behavior and conduct by disrupting play. The show of shame in that game by the home fans even attracted the ire of SWAN Bauchi which issued a statement condemning the conduct and attitude of Wikki Tourists fans, yet the NFF Disciplinary Committee did not deem it fit to deduct 3 points and 3 goals from Wikki Tourists.

SWAN Bauchi state in a statement issued on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 jointly signed by its chairman, Mahmud Yakubu and secretary, Bala Bawaji, condemned in strongest terms the actions of the club supporters after Sunday’s 2-1 home loss to visiting Bayelsa United FC. The association frowned upon the fans’ unruly behaviour, which it said was against the spirit of sportsmanship and development.

Also, Remo Stars that had a similar case were let off the hook with no point or goal deduction. SWAN Bayelsa want to ask this question: Is there different rules for different clubs in the Nigeria Premier League? Afterall, what is sauce for the goose should equally sauce for the gander.

In the case of Remo Stars, the Club had its 3 points and 3 goals deducted in the game against Gombe United  in a Match Day 12 NPFL game in which the Match Officials had accused Remo Stars of attacking them at half-time, leading to the referees abandoning the fixture played at the Remo Stars Stadium in Ikenne on April 3rd.

Following an action by the club's general manager,q Mr Ekene Adams, the Interim Management Committee (IMC) had deducted 3 points, and 3 goals from Remo Stars, and fined them the sum of N1.25 million.

We are compelled to ask why there are different treatments for different teams in the NPFL with unnecessary favoritism and bending of the rules to favour some clubs at the expense of others.

It is disturbing to SWAN Bayelsa that rules are being bent for political and other considerations, while some clubs are clamped down upon. It is our fear that if this trend continues, it will further take Nigerian League and the nation’s football on a downward spiral that would only end up in an abyss of destruction. We understand the rules were bent to favour Wikki Tourists and Remo Stars after sustained pressure and intervention by powerful interests while Bayelsa United were used as the proverbial Sacrificial Lambs. This is most unfortunate and should never be condoned.

In the light of the foregoing, SWAN Bayelsa wonders why the Nigeria Football Federation has yet to constitute its Appeals Committee even with just few weeks to the end of the current NPFL Season. We hereby call on the NFF to constitute its Appeals Committee to enable the club and others appeal the decision in line with the doctrines of fairness and equity.

It is our considered opinion that for Nigeria to get it right in football, the right things must be done every time and in all cases as selective application of the rule will kill the beautiful game in the country.

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