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LMC blacklists 12 referees, sanctions Abia Warriors, Sunshine Stars, others


Sunshine Stars celebrating a goal against Giwa FC in a recent NPFL match. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI.

Sunshine Stars celebrating a goal against Giwa FC in a recent NPFL match. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI.

The League Management Company (LMC) has blacklisted 12 referees, whom it said have performed in ways that raised integrity concerns in recent league matches. The body has also written to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) requesting their immediate exclusion from handling matches pending the review of their performances in the said matches.

The officials include four centre referees and eight assistant referees, who handled games of Match Day 33, 34 and 35 involving Nasarawa United and Rangers in Makurdi, Abia Warriors and FC IfeanyiUbah in Umuahia, FC IfeanyiUbah and Akwa United in Nnewi respectively and that in Lokoja between Niger Tornadoes and Enyimba.

The LMC told the NFF president in a letter that it would engage the leadership of the NFF Referees Committee and the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) to address perceived lapses that are capable of casting the game in disrepute.

It clarified that asking for the exclusion of the match officials from further participation in NPFL matches was not intended to pass any form of judgment “until the relevant regulatory bodies have had an opportunity to review material evidence which we would make available at the consultative meeting, we are compelled by the exigency of time.”

Meanwhile, the league body has sanctioned Sunshine Stars and Abia Warriors for disruptive behaviour of their fans in recent matches, just as it banned Enyimba’s Masseur, Mr. Ifeanyi Kalu, from all activities of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and his club fined N250, 000.

The body fined Sunshine Stars a total of N2.7m for various breaches of the rule, including failure to provide adequate security, assault on match officials, throwing of object into the field of play, delaying the start of the second half and throwing of object at an official of Heartland FC.

It said the offences were committed in the course of their Match Day 33 fixture against Heartland at the Akure Township Stadium. “In addition to the fine, Sunshine Stars will now serve the one match behind closed door which was earlier imposed as a suspended punishment for similar breaches on Match Day 17 fixture against Warri Wolves.

The assaulted Assistant Referee and the injured Heartland official will be paid compensations of N250, 000 each from the fine,” the LMC said.

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