Friday, May 24, 2013

NFF in volte-face over Sharks, Dolphins

Rivers FA Cup referees. Source:

By Sammy Wejinya

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has made a dramatic u-turn on its resolution of the preliminary stages of the 2013 Rivers State Federation Cup.

The NFF had on Wednesday ruled that no teams from Rivers State would be accommodated in the draws of the Federation Cup as “the 2013 preliminary matches of the Federation Cup (in Rivers State) were officiated by unqualified/registered referees.”

A release signed by Mohammed Sanusi, Director of competitions NFF organising committee further stated that “no preliminary matches were played in the state in accordance with the rules and regulations governing the competition.”

The NFF then made it clear that the two representatives from Rivers State, Sharks and Dolphins would be barred from competing in the 2013 Federation Cup.

However, the Rivers State Football Association, following a hastily launched appeal, earned a reprieve on Thursday after an emergency meeting of the executive committee of the NFF in Abuja.

The NFF ruled in the meeting that matches in the 2013 Rivers State Federation Cup be replayed from the semifinal stages with the finalists expected to be accommodated in the draws of the 2013 Federation Cup.

A fine of N500,000 (about $3,164 USD) be paid by the Rivers FA before the round of 64 stages of the competition.

An executive committee member of the federation who revealed this to explained that the executive committee reached the decision “following exhaustive deliberations on the issue.”

“It was a very serious situation but following exhaustive deliberations on the issue, it was decided that the resolutions reached were for the best,” he said.

Sharks will now meet Go Round FC in the first semifinal while Dolphins will face Eleme United in the second semifinal match of the Rivers State Federation Cup.

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