The Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC), Shehu Dikko, has described the on-going season 2019/20 NPFL season as the most competitive and successful given the results, performance of match officials and the overall conduct of fans so far.
Speaking at the meeting convened at the instance of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinick and had in attendance, other stakeholders as Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, the NFF General Secretary and Alhaji Rabiu Sharu Inuwa, the Chairman of the NFF Referees Committee and others, Dikko said having played 193 matches with over 1,544,000 fans in attendance, the season has been fair in terms of security breaches.
“We have so far played 193 games this season with over 1,544,000 fans attending games so far. On fans behavior, there has been just one incident of breach of security on the pitch and that was the incident in Umuahia last Sunday. The other incidents in Lafia and Katsina were outside the pitch and after the successful conclusions of the game.
“Though no security breaches and threat to public order should be tolerated and assoaciated with the beautiful game, it’s noted that all three incidents had to do with local rivalries between clubs that share geographical proximity and have had running supremacy claims by their fans.
“In Lafia, it was a North Central derby between Nasarawa United and Plateau United, Katsina was a Northwest derby between Katsina United and Kano Pillars while in Umuahia, we had the Abia derby between Abia Warriors and Enyimba International”, Dikko stressed.
He said as part of strategies to eliminate unsavory incidents during and after matches, the LMC has directed all clubs to notify Police Divisions within the match venue jurisdictions of their weekly home games and request a minimum of 100 Police officers for match security duties in addition to other security personal.
“This plan was adopted as one of the resolutions of the meeting and would have the clubs give timely notice to the Police Division and making a copy of such request available to the LMC.”
The meeting also resolved that some of the Police officers will be specially assigned to watch over home and away fans to prevent skirmishes that may lead to clashes.
It was also resolved that the NFF and LMC will open communication channels with the Police High Command with a view to having continuous interface with the office of the Inspector General of Police with the long term objective to set up specialized police squad for football matches security management.
The meeting also endorsed a proposal by the LMC to create a volunteer stewards corps that will be made up of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members who will function to deepened orderliness in the stands.
“To this end, the LMC was mandated by the meeting to interface with the Director of NYSC and that of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to enlist the support and services of the agencies in ensuring orderliness match venues through effective stewardship.”
The meeting also tasked the LMC to ensure full enforcement of relevant rules of the NPFL at all times and to apply prescribed sanctions on any club and or supporters club found to breach the rules. It was also charged to ensure that continuous fans education and sensitization is sustained.
A strategy to ensure that high standards of officiating are sustained will include a continuous monitoring and review of performance of match officials to ensure that only the best are selected to officiate in NPFL matches.
“To this end, it was resolved that full match videos of games would be reviewed should there be any reservations expressed on calls made by any Referee during a game.”