Friday, September 16, 2011

Dolphins want match-fixing claim tackled

One of the title contenders in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), Dolphins have called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to handle the match-fixing allegation without prejudice.

Lobi Stars reported league leaders, Sunshine Stars to the NFF Organising and Disciplinary Committee for allegedly breaching the rules for having contact with the match officials.

This was after both sides played out a 1-1 draw in a rescheduled league game in Bauchi on September.

But Dolphins through their spokesman, China Acheru, have called on the football federation to think hard and long before they make a decision on the match-fixing allegation levelled against Sunshine Stars.

The former Nigerian champions also believe that whatever decision taken by the NFF’s Organising and Disciplinary Committee will affect the credibility of the country’s top flight either positively or negatively.

Dolphins also gave recent examples of match-fixing accusations in other climes noting that in all there were no sacred cows involved.

“We are in times where the attention is on Nigeria and the world wants to see how we tackle sensitive issues,” the statement read. “There has been a lot of bad press emanating from Nigerian football in the last couple of years and this one is like a test as regards the credibility of those that run our football.

“In 2006, Juventus was relegated to Serie B and stripped of two league titles they had previously won while AC Milan were docked 30 points.

“Now the rules are clear and if indeed Sunshine Stars broke the rules as those photographs in the media suggest then it is a no-brainer because it is all stipulated in the League’s rules and regulations.

“The League must go on and it will not be brought to disrepute and we really wish the NFF do the right thing as they make their decision.

“The question we should be asking is how come referees that were based in Abia, Owerri and Kaduna happened to be in the same broken down vehicle in Jos and how it was only a Sunshine Stars' official vehicle that picked them up.

“We should also be asking how the same referees were now miraculously absent for the game one day later when they were just one hour away from the game venue when they were caught in an uncompromising situation.

“We leave it all to the judgment of the NFF and hope they do the right thing.”

The actors in the match-fixing allegation – Lobi Stars, Sunshine Stars, the match officials and the referees’ appointment committee – have been invited to face the organising and disciplinary committee of the NFF next Wednesday.

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