LMC Expels Giwa FC From NPFL, Cancels All Results, Goals Involving The Club
Giwa FC of Jos has been expelled from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) for multiple infractions of the Framework and Rules of the NPFL, particularly for violation of B13.28 which prescribes expulsion from the league for any club that fails to honour three matches cumulatively within a season with no acceptable reason to the League Management Company (LMC).
The LMC in addition to ordering a forfeiture of all funds due Giwa FC from the LMC, it also invoked Rule B13.66 to make pronouncements protecting the players of the club by granting them waiver to terminate their contracts with the club for ‘just cause’ or ‘sporting just cause’ and releasing them for contracts with other clubs during the on-going season.
“Pursuant to Rule B13.66 of the League Rules and without prejudice to the agreed written terms of their respective player contracts, nothing shall preclude Players hitherto registered by Giwa FC from the unilateral termination of contracts for ‘just cause’ or ‘sporting just cause’ as the case may be, and from being contracted to and registered by other Clubs”, the Summary Jurisdiction notice stated.
The LMC said it would further review with a view to setting up a social safety net to mitigate any consequential hardship, “the matter of registered players and officials currently contracted to Giwa FC – particularly those who may have played at least 50% of its league matches in the current season and whose player contracts and potential earnings may have been brought to jeopardy on account of this decision”.
The LMC also ruled that Clubs that have already played Giwa FC before Match Day 19 will have their match day expenses refunded from the funds seized from accruals of Giwa FC that is with the LMC.
Giwa FC was charged for breach of Rules B13.25 and B13.28 by the LMC which in a Summary Jurisdiction notice imposed two sanctions on the club for breach of Rule B13.25 and expulsion for breach of Rule B13.28.
The LMC ruled that “for failing to honour the fixture obligation without any acceptable reason, in breach of Rule B13.25, Giwa FC shall pay a fine of N250,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira only) being the sum of expenses including stadium hire, security and other logistics incurred in respect of the match.
“Further to paragraph (a) above, Giwa FC shall forfeit to Enyimba FC the three points as well as three goals arising from the match.
“For failing to honour three matches cumulatively within the league season and without any acceptable reason, Giwa FC is expelled from the Nigeria Professional Football League with immediate effect and all matches involving Giwa FC, whether played or unplayed as well as the points arising or accruing there from are cancelled”.
Rule B13.28 states, “If a Club fails to honour three matches cumulatively within the League season without an acceptable reason to the LMC such a club shall be expelled from the League and its matches played and unplayed shall be cancelled.“
In the Summary Jurisdiction notice issued Giwa FC after the failure to honour the Match Day 16 fixture against Akwa United, the LMC detailed the provisions of the rules and also pointed out efforts that were made to make Giwa FC appreciate the consequences of its actions.
Reference was made to correspondences exchanged between the LMC and Giwa FC in the wake of the match disruption in Jos which led to the imposition of a three home match ban on the club and which also directed that those three games be played in Ilorin.
The LMC recalled that Giwa appealed the decision but failed to appear before the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Disciplinary Committee for hearing, following which the decisions of the LMC were upheld.
It further reminded Giwa FC that when it failed to honour Matches Day 14 and 16, a reminder of the consequences of failure to honour the next match was contained in the summary jurisdiction notice which awarded the three points and three goals to Akwa United.
According to the LMC, “…we recall your letters dated 25th and 28th April 2016 wherein you refused to comply with the said sanction based on a purported court order and directive from the NFF. We also recall our letters to you dated 27th and 29th April 2016, advising you that there was neither a court order nor directive from the NFF with the effect of directing your club not to comply with the said sanctions and further advising you to honour your fixture obligations. We further recall the clear warnings given to you in the said letters as well as in the respective summary jurisdiction notices, as to the implication of your failure to honour your fixture obligations. Nonetheless, you failed to honour match days 14 and 16 fixtures.
“In the present circumstances however, it would suffice to state that no reason whatsoever has been adduced in your current letter (dated 17th May 2016) for your failure to honour the match day 18 fixture now under reference. As a result, there is no basis for a consideration of any reason for your failure. In addition, for the avoidance of doubt, your letter also failed to provide any cogent basis for the LMC to exercise its power to reschedule a match under Rule B13.10, especially as the provision requires a club to make such application not less than 72 hours before the time fixed for the match, whereas your letter was delivered less than four (4) hours to the time fixed for the match.”
Giwa FC was given 48 hours to accept the decision in writing or elect to appear for a hearing before a commission.