Friday, July 31, 2009

Akwa Utd, JUTH FC Reject NPL Verdict

Two clubs, Akwa United and Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Football Club, have refused to accept the verdict of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) on their status as relegated sides ahead of the start of next season.

Akwa United and JUTH FC management are angered that the media have been reporting them as clubs that would begin life in the lower tier of club football in Nigeria next season when the 9-0 scandalous result between Zamfara United and Kaduna United is yet to be sorted out.

Despite the review and ratification of last season’s results in the Premier League by the NPL, the two clubs are still rooting for justice and from their interpretation Kaduna United and Zamfara United deserves to be relegated following that scandalous score-line at the end of the 2008/2009 season.

Spokesman of JUTH FC, Olusola Alao, told our correspondent that the Jos club is not relegated yet since the investigation into the case of match-fixing raised by Akwa United is yet to be concluded.

Alao also believes that the Nigeria Football Federation’s verdict on that match between Zamfara United and Kaduna United remains superior to that of the NPL in spite of the latter being the arbiter of the Premier League in the country.

“Chief Oyuki Obaseki said that the 9-0 score-line between Zamfara United and Kaduna United is still ongoing. So, it means that it is out of place to now say that we, JUTH FC, have been relegated and it is not yet uhuru for the clubs involved in that 9-0 score-line. Until that issue is resolved I don’t why anyone can say that we have been relegated. But we are waiting for the NFF AGM later to clear this because they are a superior body in football in Nigeria to any other body,” the JUTH spokesman said.

On the other hand, Akwa United media officer, Uwem Ekoh, said since the case of match-fixing against Zamfara United and Kaduna United is still pending at the doorstep of the country’s football governing body, which is yet to make any statement on the matter.

Ekoh was not pleased with the pronouncement of the Premier League board that it has decided to relegate Akwa United when its investigation into allegation of match-fixing is still inconclusive.

“Akwa United will not accept that kind of ratification because the investigation of the matter we raised with the Nigeria Football Federation is not concluded yet. So how can we accept relegation? So we are waiting on the NFF when they meet,” he said.
But NPL chairman, Oyuki Obaseki, has insisted that the two clubs remain relegated since they had their representatives at the congress of the Premier League last week in Makurdi.

He pointed out that the representatives of the two clubs also agreed to the review and ratification of the outcome of last season, adding that the investigation into the Zamfara United - Kaduna United game is still ongoing.

“We cannot hold back starting the league because of an allegation of match-fixing. This same issue happened in Italy few years ago and investigation continued and it took them years to solve it. I have told any of the clubs that if they have evidence to prove that the two clubs are involved in match-fixing, we will not hesitate to punish them. But nobody has given us evidence and all they have done is to accuse us that we are not doing anything about it. The last time we had this kind of situation, the NPL spent about N6 million to investigate the case without getting to the root of it,” he said.

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