At the end of a midseason review session in Abuja, Monday, Chairmen and General Managers of clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) rated the half season as successful with a call on the League Management Company (LMC) to improve on some lapses that were observed in the course of the first 190 matches. On their side, the clubs pledged to be proactive in dealing with fans who are involved in violent acts at the stadium by apprehending the fans and handing them over to law enforcement agents for prosecution.
The midseason review session was convened by the LMC at its office in Abuja ahead the start of the second stanza of the 2016/17 season on Sunday, May 21.
One of the far reaching decisions adopted at the session was a proposal by clubs that fines imposed on any club for rules breaches must be paid within ten working days failure of which all other matches of the club after the deadline would be forfeited to their opponents. The LMC accepted the proposal which now replaces the previous process that deducts the total fine from the club earnings at the end of the season.
The Club Chairmen led by Barrister Isaac Danladi commended the LMC on the management of the half season and the proactive decisions taken each time regulations were breached. He expressed the clubs’ resolve to ensure that such incidences that tend to mar otherwise exciting matches are reduced if not eliminated.
“The clubs are in agreement that the LMC tried very well to ensure that the first stanza of the 2016/17 season was successfully concluded and we want to commend you for all the decisions you reached on reported incidences because there was hardly any club that challenged those decisions”, Danladi stated.
Presided over by the LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko, the session amongst other issues discussed also tasked the LMC to properly review the fixtures for the remaining half of the season to reduce fixture congestion which the clubs said affected not just their finances but also the physical conditioning of their playing squad.
Dikko in his remarks harped on the need to curb the growing fans’ restiveness at match venues and challenged the Club Administrators to lead the campaign for peaceful atmosphere at match venues. He recalled that the LMC had made it mandatory for the host club chairman and the visiting counterpart sit together in the box.
“When we mandated the club leaderships to sit together at matches, the reasoning was that when both leaders are seen in such friendly stance, tension will be reduced amongst their supporters.
“These fans read your body language and when a club chairman reacts negatively to a Referees’ decision, the wrong signal has been sent to the supporters hence I urge you to eschew display of emotions while watching matches. It is your responsibility to lead this campaign for friendly atmosphere at matches”, charged Dikko.
The LMC, he also pledged will intensify its liaison with the leadership of the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA)and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Referees’ Committee towards improving the level of officiating by exploring possibilities of additional guidelines for qualification to manage NPFL matches.
“By our assessment, the Referees performed well so far. We know it can always get better and we would strengthen our work with the NFF Referees’ Committee and the NRA to improve on what was obtained but we also want the clubs to realize that decisions cannot always go their way. The Referees are human and liable to make mistakes but whenever we have reviewed a match and discovered incompetence, such Referees were punished no matter how long it took us to review the game”, Dikko assured the clubs.
He wished the clubs a successful conclusion of the remaining half of the season.