Reprieve came for Kano Pillars and Sunshine Stars as the closed gate ban which prohibited the two clubs from admitting spectators was Wednesday, lifted by the League Management Company (LMC) which granted the two clubs two-match probation to test their security arrangement.
In separate letters communicating the decisions to the two clubs, the LMC said the stadium ban was lifted under probation following a review of the conditions set out in the original order that suspended the admission of spectators to their home matches. The LMC said that it would during the next two home matches of the two clubs, assess the level of compliance with the revised safety and security measures put in place by the clubs.
However, Sunshine Stars banishment away from Akure Township Stadium to Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode subsists as the LMC ruled that the Akure Township Stadium would only be admitted to host Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) matches after confirming that the club has fully complied with the required measures.
Some of the conditions Kano Pillars was issued include provision of revised match day security plan, evidence of prosecution of complicit individuals and evidence of fans and supporters education workshops.
For both clubs, full and final decisions would be announced after the two matches they would host.
In another development, the LMC ruled that the result of the Matchday 28 fixture between Enyimba and Niger Tornadoes will stand as the petitioner, Niger Tornadoes could not provide evidence to support the application of Rule C5.
Tornadoes had filed a petition seeking to have three points and three goals awarded the club on the grounds that Enyimba fielded a player, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu that was suspended for the match following the accumulation of five yellow cards.
In their defence, Enyimba submitted that they did not intentionally field the player as the notice of suspension did not reach them. They also made references to similar incidents last season in which they alerted Nasarawa United in Makurdi that they were about to field a suspended Thomas Zenke and the player was dropped. Similarly in Port Harcourt last season, Kano Pillars brought to the attention of Enyimba that they were about to field a suspended Nzube Anaezemba leading to Enyimba dropping him. They therefore contended that Tornadoes did not play fair by withholding information only to turn to protest.
The LMC’s finding was that Tornadoes failed to raise the protest neither at the pre-match meeting nor at any point prior to the commencement of the match which would have established a case of intentionally fielding an ineligible player as envisaged under the relevant section of the rule.
“…Suspension notices are sent to both clubs involved in any match in question in order for disputes over eligibility of players to be addressed prior to the match.
“Note that where a protest is made against the eligibility of a player prior to a match and the other team insists on fielding such player, upon confirmation that the player was ineligible, it would likely be established that the team intentionally featured such a player as envisaged under Rule C5”, read the LMC decision signed by Salihu Abubakar, the Chief Operating Officer.