Home Sports Football Smart City FC protests NNL fine, sanctions

Smart City FC protests NNL fine, sanctions

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The improvements brought about by the Interim Management Committee in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) mean less attention is being paid to the lower leagues, especially the Nigeria National League (NNL), the Chairman of Smart City Football Club of Lagos, Anthony Adeyinka Adeboye has alleged.

At the moment, Smartcity are protesting a N3.5 million fine imposed on them by the NNL board in respect of their match against Gateway Football Club of Abeokuta. The match which was stopped after the encroachment of the pitch was suspended midway and completed four days later.

In addition to the fine, the NNL deducted three points and three goals from the Lagos-based football outfit, for breaching various sections of the NNL rule book during their match day five encounter in the Southern Conference, Group B2 with Gateway Football, at the Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode Ogun State on Sunday.

Adeboye said his management was still at a loss on why they should be punished for an incident that happened far away from their base. “We were the away team”, he explained. “We went to Ijebo-Ode without our fans.

“It remains a wonder that our so-called fans could disrupt a match up to the extent of beating up the match officials”.

His argument is consistent with a statement issued by the club management after the match.

The club statement read in part: “The attention of the management of Smartcity FC, Lagos have been drawn to some tweets, pictures, and videos, stories making the rounds in both social and conventional media, purported to be Smartcity fans’ pitch encroachment and harassment of match officials, stealing their valuables and inflicting bodily injuries on them during a suspended Matchday 5 fixture with Gateway United, at the Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu Ode.

“We wish to state unequivocally that Smartcity is a responsible club that would never be involved in such acts of hooliganism”.

The club chairman said the match venue lacked adequate security and health facilities for emergencies. “For instance when one of their players collapsed, it was our medical personnel that attended to him.

“There was no ambulance, nothing. We couldn’t have caused what they are accusing us of, after all, we have lost a match at home. Why did our fans not attack officials in Lagos?”

Defending the NNL action, Emmanuel Adesanya, coordinator of the NNL told Sports Vanguard that their action was based on the match report from the referees and match commissioner. “The rules are clear on this,” Adesanya insisted.

“Everybody knows what the punishment for such action is. It happened to Bayelsa United, Remo Stars, and Wikki in the NPFL. It is no longer business as usual”.

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