The League Management Company (LMC) on Thursday banned for 10 matches the proprietor of Nnewi-based FC IfeanyiUbah, Ifeanyi Ubah, and fined him the sum of N2.5 million.
In a statement by Harry Iwuala, LMC’s Head of Special Projects, the league managers also asked the club proprietor to write a letter of apology.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ubah has also been asked to sign an undertaking to be a good ambassador of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) henceforth.
In a landmark case, following Ubah’s status as a chief financial supporter of football activities in the country, the LMC said its actions followed the review of new video evidence.
It said it had reviewed again the incident which occurred immediately after the Match Day 8 fixture in Nnewi between FC IfeanyiUbah and Heartland Football Club of Owerri.
``LMC is now issuing fresh charges against Ubah and is now handing him a fine of N2.5 million, in addition to a 10-match ban from all NPFL venues in a Summary Jurisdiction notice issued Thursday afternoon.
``Relying on the Match Commissioner’s report which did not capture the incident, the LMC had earlier charged Ubah for encroachment on the field of play only.
``But, having received additional evidence that supported a case of assault on goalkeeper Ebele Obi, fresh charges have been drafted.
``Ubah was charged for breach of Rule C1 of the NPFL Rules and Framework for an offence of misconduct, in that immediately after the match he encroached on the field of play and assaulted Obi while his personal security aides further assaulted the player.
``For this, the LMC ruled in an exercise of summary jurisdiction to suspend Ubah from all NPFL match venues for the next 10 matches,’’ the statement said.
However, the last four of the 10-match ban have been suspended for a probationary period expiring at the end of the 2015/16 season.
It said further that it was taking further measures in view of the unrestrained behaviour of the personal security aides of Ubah.
``Club officials and guests to NPFL matches are prohibited from bringing self-procured security apparatus to match venues.’’
Also, LMC said Heartland FC officials have meanwhile accepted the sanction to pay N750,000 for their failure to control their players who harassed the match referee and pushed him down.
``They apologised for the lapse and appealed for leniency citing the fact that their goalkeeper was a first offender.
``In a letter signed by the club’s General Manager, Oscar Keke, the club pleaded for a reduction of the fine by saying Heartland is not known for crowd trouble, even in the face of negative results.
``The club further pleaded that the incident under reference must be viewed as an aberration in the light of which they were appealing for a substantial reduction in the fine,’’ it said.
Meanwhile, LMC has written to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in the wake of the FC IfeanyiUbah versus Heartland match.
According to the statement, the LMC has recommended that the game’s Match Commissioner, Sunday Audu from FCT, and the centre referee, Ibrahim Ajao, be withdrawn from further officiating in NPFL matches.
``Ajao was cited for failure to report the multiple assault incidences recorded during and after the match.
``He was also cited for failure to submit his match report within the statutory 24 hours, as the said report was only submitted on March 31 while the match was held on March 23.
``Similarly, the Match Commissioner was also charged for failure to adequately reflect in his report the cases of multiple assaults on Heartland goalkeeper and his teammates.’’