Friday, August 07, 2009

NPL Vows To Be Ruthless Over Match-fixing

The Nigeria Premier League (NPL) has warned the 20 clubs that would take part in next season’s campaign of the top-flight in Nigeria that it would show no mercy if such score-line like that of Kaduna United and Zamfara United repeat itself especially towards the end of the season.
It would be recalled that Zamfara United had defeated Kaduna United by 9-0 on June 14, which was the last day of the Premier League, in order to retain its status as a top-flight side at the expense of Akwa United.
Akwa United, now relegated benefited in an almost similar circumstance in 2006 when it defeated Calabar Rovers (now UNICEM Rovers) by 13-0 to gain promotion to the Premier League in spite of protest from Bussdor Football Club then.
Now the Premier League board chairman, Oyuki Obaseki, has expressed that no clubs would be spared in the event of such scandalous score-line especially when it is close to the end of the season.
The NPL has been empowered by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) General Assembly to carry out its proposal on nipping in bud results such as that of Zamfara United and Kaduna United.
The Premier League had proposed a new set of rules to govern allegations of match-fixing since it has been difficult for the body to uncover the actors behind the act after setting an investigative panel.
But Obaseki is optimistic that the amendment in the NPL rules would put an end to the scandalous trend of relegation-bound clubs in the Premier League to try and fix games in a bid to survive.
The former Bendel Insurance Football Club chairman explained that the Premier League board would sit with its lawyers to fashion out rules that would ensure that any club that is involved in such suspicious games would be sanctioned.
“There is no clear cut sanction yet in place for the team that is involved. In the coming days, we will be meeting with our lawyers to really fashion out the new rules. The panel that sat over the case involving Zamfara United and Kaduna United proffered some solutions on how to end this problem that has bedevilled our game in recent times. I am also happy that we have the support of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Assembly has given us the order to go ahead with our new rules.
“I must mention here that any club that is involved in the kind of disgrace that has been brought to the game in the past season would not be spared at all. Mind you, it was difficult to ascertain that the game between Kaduna United and Zamfara United was fixed because we had no evidence. We called for evidence from those who brought the allegation forward but we saw nothing and after the panel I set up questioned the some of the players, the match officials and assessors, nothing was found incriminating and we could not have taken action against them when we had no evidence,” he said.
The Bini High Chief has, however, said stringent measures would be taken against erring clubs in terms of non-credible results and hooliganism when the Premier League campaign gets underway next month across the country.

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