The Rivers State Sports Commissioner, Boma Iyaye has listed the sins of the Amaju Pinnick led Nigeria Football Federation and the League Management Company headed by Shehu Dikko.

This is in the aftermath of an earlier decision by the Nigeria Football Federation to recognise the League table made available by the League Management Company that put Rivers United in 3rd and not 2nd place.

On Thursday in Port Harcourt, the commissioner, Iyaye reiterated the decision of the state to take the case as far as the Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS since according to him, they have lost faith in the Nigeria Football Federation.

In a strongly worded statement, Iyaye told newsmen that Amaju Pinnick and Shehu Dikko have taken Nigerian football fifty years back and he also made a strong allegation.

“On the side, I need to introduce another angle to what has transpired in the last few months,” Boma Iyaye said.

“I need to call on the Sports Minister to wade into this matter. Amaju (Pinnick) that is the president of the NFF and his co-travellers, especially Shehu Dikko have taken Nigerian football fifty years behind and I am saying this with all evidence within my purview.

“And if these co-travellers are not called to order, Nigerian football will continue to dwindle, even worse than the situation we find ourselves in,” an angry Boma Iyaye continued.

“How can you have a matter before you and the president of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick will visit Abia State on the twenty first of August and come our with a white paper on the decision on the twenty fourth?

“If he doesn’t tell us, we will expose everything that he has been doing in Nigerian Football. We are not going to rest until the people of Rivers State get justice,” Boma Iyaye said.

The NFF explained these

The Nigeria Football Federation had a few days earlier endorsed the final table of the Nigeria Professional Football League for the 2019/2020 season as prepared and released by the League Management Company, LMC.

As part of its consultations on the matter, the NFF in a press statement made public by its Communications Director, Ademola Olajire said it reached out to both continental-governing body, CAF and world-governing body, FIFA, whose responses affirmed the position of the NFF Football Committee.

The NFF’s Football Committee said that the LMC followed all the due process of consultation with the NPFL Participating clubs and the NFF in coming to the decision to end the NPFL 2019/2020 Season at Match day 25.

According to them, the Points Per Game table was presented by LMC for discussions by the clubs including Rivers United since May 2020 and there were no objections on the standings and/or the application of the head-to-head to break the tie.

They also add that the clubs were duly carried along and voted twice in the final decision to end the league and use the PPG system, first by the 20 NPFL clubs at an internal meeting and second by the same clubs at the joint meeting between NFF, LMC and the 20 NPFL Clubs. The majority of the clubs (18-2) voted to end the league and use the PPG system.

The League Management Company also said that they duly adhered to and relied on the relevant provisions of the NPFL Rule Book in coming to a decision. Specifically, the ‘Force Majeure’ provisions and “Matters Not Provided for” under NPFL Rule Book Articles 15.24 and 15.2.

NPFL Rule Book Article 15.24 unconditionally placed the authority and rights on the LMC to take the necessary decisions under the prevailing circumstances (Force Majeure occasioned by the Covid-19 Pandemic), having regard to interest of fairness, good sportsmanship and overall interest of the game

The Rivers Utd Petition which relied on Clause 3 of the NPFL Rule Book (The Competition) does not apply under the circumstances (Force Majeure) as the clause is only relevant if the NPFL full season had been completed and/or the clubs have all played equal number of games (in which case the application of the PPG would be irrelevant).

Rivers United disagree still

Rivers United continue to disagree with the position of the Nigeria Football Federation, stating that both the League Management Company, LMC and the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF were wrong.

According to Boma Iyaye, “There is a subsisting arrangement that recognises and envisages force majeure because the parameter for determining who wins any League competition is points.

“So, if article 2.9 of the NPFL rule says positions will be determined by points, then goal difference then goals for and against before head to head, then they should not jump to head to head,” the commissioner said.

Boma Iyaye continued that the NFF must not just speak of fairness but act it.

“If they are saying that for fairness we should respect the fact that Enyimba did not play the number of matches we played, they should also know that we did not play Enyimba in Port Harcourt to justify the head to head,” Iyaye continued.

“In that case, fairness will mean utilising the ground which PPG provides.

“They should not tell us that they applied PPG that puts every body equal in games played then come back to tell us some people have suffered disadvantage and they will enjoy while others suffer.

“If we had not used PPG, Enyimba cannot leave their position to be where they are. This is a clear case of injustice and undue victimisation.”

The Rivers State government will therefore seek redress at a body they can trust and not the Nigeria Football Federation.

“In the light of this development, the Rivers State Government, sponsors of Rivers United is compelled to seek a proper interpretation of the applicable rules and pronouncement on the propriety or otherwise of the actions and decision of the LMC on the matter from the Court of Arbitration for Sports as it is obvious we cannot get justice from the Nigeria Football Federation so we will go to where we can get justice.

“The next step the Rivers State government will take is to approach the Court of Arbitration for Sports to seek further interpretations.”

Have your say. We'd love to know what you think.