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LMC goes tough on ‘substandard venues,’ bans Nnewi, Nembe, Uyo stadia

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THE League Management Company (LMC) is bent on ensuring that only stadia, which meet its conditions for hosting games, are allowed to stage matches of the 2014/2015 season.

  The season kicks off this weekend across the country, with Sunday’s game between Heartland and Kano Pillars in Owerri the star match of the Week One. But many of the teams may be forced to take their matches to venues outside their home base due to the inadequacy of their grounds.

  Some of the teams likely to be affected by the LMC’s tough stance are Ifeanyi Ubah FC of Nnewi (formerly Gabros), Bayelsa United and Akwa United of Uyo.

  A source close to Ifeanyi Ubah FC yesterday raised the alarm that the LMC has threatened that the team would not play anywhere in Anambra State owing to the unavailability of standard stadia in the state.

  According to the source, the “LMC in a letter to our management informed us of their decision, citing the lack of standard dressing rooms and spectators’ stands at the venue. 

  “They have also rejected the Rojenny Stadium in Oba, a situation that has forced us to look for a nearby venue for our games before our first home game. I think we will know by Friday where our home games will hold because our management is working to solve the problem.”

  Also affected by the LMC stance is the Nembe Stadium, which Bayelsa United has picked as venue for their games. A source close to the team told The Guardian that the LMC’s complaint centres on the allegation that the Nembe Stadium is not accessible to vehicles other than SUVs. 

  “They told us that a stadium should be easy for football fans and officials to access. 

 We are working to ensure we meet their expectations. But if we fail, we will look for a new venue,” he said.

  Bayelsa United played part of their 2013/2014 league games at the Sam Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin.

  The source revealed that playing in Port Harcourt or Omoku is one of the options open to Bayelsa United. 

 The problem with the UYO Township Stadium, which hosted Akwa United last season, an LMC official said yesterday, is the inadequacy of the team’s dressing room. But he added that the team may not leave Uyo as they have the option of playing at the ultra-modern Akwa Ibom International Stadium, which is reputed as one of the best stadia in sub-Sahara Africa.

 The season begins this weekend with Kano Pillars starting their title defence away from home against Heartland at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, while Federation Cup champions, Enyimba of Aba, will host neighbours, Akwa United of Uyo.   

  Sharks will entertain Sunshine Stars of Akure at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, while the Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi will host the returnees’ battle involving Shooting Stars of Ibadan and Wikki Tourists.

 Ifeanyi Ubah FC is pitched against African Confederation Cup contestants, Warri Wolves, just as Giwa FC of Jos will host Abia Warriors in Jos.



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