Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia
The Nasarawa State government has accepted to pay all fines awarded against Nasarawa United FC by the League Management Company (LMC) following a violent attack on match officials and others at the Lafia Township stadium recently.
The state commissioner for youths and sports development,, Uthman Bala-Adams, told journalists on Saturday in Lafia, the state capital, describing the scenario as unfortunate.
THISDAY gathered that on Wednesday, November 20, a Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) 2019/2020 match day 4 fixture between Nasarawa United and Plateau United at the Lafia Township stadium ended in violence.
It was further revealed that some fans had attacked the match commissioner, center referee, assistant referees among others during the encounter, blaming the violence on poor officiating.
The LMC, administrators of the NPFL in a reaction to the unfortunate development via the NPFL official website ‘npfl.ng’ took disciplinary actions against the club and alongside those perceived to have instigated the violence or promoted it.
Consequently, the LMC fined the club, ordered its home matches be played behind closed doors and banned the curator, Aliyu Hamzat who allegedly led the attack on the match officials for life.
The LMC also suspended a Nasarawa United player, Seun Komolafe, for one year for inciting the club supporters to commit violence against match officials.
This was even as the LMC cautioned the media officer of the club, Eche Moses, for unfairly criticizing match officials which was capable of bringing the league to disrepute.
Nevertheless, the commissioner, who acknowledged receipt of the disciplinary steps taken against the club, said the state government has fully accepted the punishment for the unruly behavior of fans and some officials of the club hence promising to ensure that the unfortunate incident never repeats itself again.
He said: “We register our displeasure as a government about what transpired because it is not in our habit or culture to be violent. We assure the LMC that this will never repeat itself as we have decided to put in place effective security measures to safeguard not just referees and players, but also our Very Important Persons and fans.”
Bala-Adams who said the state government declined to appeal the disciplinary actions because the incident was well documented, appreciated the LMC for been lenient and not banning the club from playing its home matches at the Lafia Township stadium.
He said that the state government would liaise with the state’s Football Association (FA) and Referees Association in the state to educate supporters on the rules of the game as it is currently.
Chairman of the state FA, Mohammed Alkali, also condemned the violent attacks and said that the state FA would synergize with the state government to stop violence on match officials for good in the state.
“I have spoken verbally with the commissioner of youth and sports and we have agreed to take certain steps to ensure that security of everyone in the stadium is well planned and put in place.
“I want to assure you that before our next match, most of these steps would have been put in place,” Alkali said.