Clubs in the Glo Premier League have been directed not to field their players who have only provisional clearance against the club from which the provisional clearance was issued. Provisional clearance were issued to some players whose transfer transaction have not been resolved the two concerned clubs and the League Management Company (LMC) has directed that in fixtures involving both teams, such players cannot be fielded.

LMC Chief Operating Officer, Salihu Abubakar has pursuant to the directive issued a notification to three clubs whose players are affected in Match Day 8 fixtures coming up on Sunday. The clubs are Shooting Stars, Enyimba and Rangers International.

Read more: LMC Urge Clubs to adhere to Directive on Provisional Clearance  

Worried by the spate of recent reports and outcome of its internal checks mechanism on the implementation of players’ contracts and payment of their remunerations, the Executive Board of the League Management Company (LMC) through the office of the Chairman, Hon. Nduka Irabor has stepped in to warn Clubs of the consequences of breaching applicable provisions of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Framework and Rules, 2013/14 season.

““It has variously been reported that some of you have arbitrarily terminated Players’ contracts, some have unilaterally changed and imposed new contract terms on Players, and some have failed to pay the stipulated Player’s remuneration with the result that Players are owed several months in arrears. There have been reports also of the deplorable situation in at least one Club where the Players have embarked on strike en-mass to press their demand for their entitlements. These unwelcome reports, where established, are violations of Rules 9.42, 9.44 and 9.45”, the LMC Chairman wrote in the three page heart-to-heart letter addressed to Club Chairmen and dated July 9.

Towards ensuring substantial compliance with its Financial Requirements, the LMC has also through a memo signed by the Chief Operating Officer, Salihu Abubakar directed clubs to submit proof of compliance to payment of Players’ salaries. The memo read “Pursuant to powers granted the LMC by Rule 8.1.1 of NPFL Framework and Rules for the 2013/2014 Season which deals with Club Finance, I have been directed to request that you submit the following documents for verification of your club’s compliance with regulations on players salaries: Club Pay roll (electronic or hardcopy), evidence of payment (Bank transfers or signed pay vouchers) and any other proof Club may deem fit to submit”.

The LMC said the proof of compliance is to be submitted by July 18 and warned that “the LMC shall in line with the regulations apply sanctions of specific nature on clubs found to have been in breach of obligations to players and also take other steps it deems proper to safeguard the interest of players and all stakeholders”.

In response to the numerous enquiries it has received over the last 48 hours, League Management Company Limited (LMC) wishes to reassure the football fraternity in Nigeria, its corporate sponsors and the Nigerian public that there has not been any judicial pronouncement, order or decision that restrains, impedes or jeopardises the operations of LMC and the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

LMC is aware of the several orchestrated misleading reports carried in the media about an interlocutory ruling given in a suit pending before the High Court of Lagos State.  The general public should be informed that these reports do not represent the accurate state of affairs as pertaining to the suit.  The suit is still pending and the hearing of the main case is even yet to commence. No final order or judgement has been delivered in the case.

The correct position with the interlocutory order granted by the court which has been variously misrepresented in the media reports on same so far, is that the trial court ordered that LMC should not interfere with the contract between Total Promotions Ltd and the 1st defendant in the case, (the Nigeria Football League Ltd [NFLL]), which body was recently declared illegal by Hon. Justice D. U. Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in a judgment delivered on 20th January 2012, and ordered to be mandatorily wound up by the Corporate Affairs Commission for failure to comply with the law governing the registration of companies in Nigeria in its formation and composition.

Of course, the position maintained by the LMC is that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the alleged contract between Total Promotions Ltd and NFLL and will never have anything to do with NFLL which has been declared an illegal body by the court. The other point made in the ruling is that the LMC should not interfere with a contract, which contract if it existed, was never produced before the court by Total Promotions Ltd and the terms of which are unknown to LMC.
In order to prevent the kind of misrepresentation  now being peddled about in the media regarding the ruling, LMC, in exercise of its constitutional right, has at 3rd  July, 2014 filed an appeal against the interlocutory ruling of the High Court, in question.  

The Notice of Appeal filed by LMC is based on several grounds including that; the Learned Judge presiding over the case gave an order in respect of a contract that was never produced in evidence before the Court (even when LMC’s Lawyers pointed out repeatedly to the court that the alleged contract was not before the court) and has thereby disabled herself from hearing the main case by unfairly prejudging the merits of the case at the interlocutory stage.

In addition, it is important, having regards to these developments, that the public is informed that a different Judge of the same High Court of Lagos State had earlier this year given judgment for LMC and ruled that LMC is distinct and separate from NFLL and as such contracts between NFLL and third parties cannot be imposed on LMC. In the face of this ruling which has clarified the status of LMC, the case by TPL is nothing more than an elaborate ruse to impose on LMC the contracts which TPL had entered into with a body we now know should not have been carrying on business in the first place, NFLL. The ruling fortifying the position of LMC was delivered on 21st January, 2014 in Suit No. M/145/12: Emmanuel Oboh & Anor. vs. Nigeria Football League Limited and League Management Company Ltd and First Bank of Nigeria Ltd.

Accordingly, LMC calls on all true stakeholders of football in Nigeria to disregard these mischievous news reports about this present suit. They are nothing but a deliberate ploy to misinform and create hysteria in the minds of the public about the NPFL.  LMC is unflagging in its determination to vigorously defend this suit, which it is convinced is frivolous and without basis whatsoever.

Finally, LMC restates its commitment to an enduring reform and transformation of the elite professional football league in Nigeria to the benefit of the players, Clubs, corporate sponsors and the true owners of the league, the football-loving millions of our fellow Nigerian citizens.

Signed:  Management

An innovative scheme that is aimed at attracting to the Glo Premier League, Nigerian players with international exposure has been launched by the League Management Company (LMC) and this is already accommodated in the 2013/14 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Framework and Rules.



The scheme, christened the ‘Elite Players Project’ was explained in detail to the 20 Premier League Clubs in a circular signed by Salihu Abubakar, the LMC Chief Operating Officer and listed the major objective to include the improvement of professionalism in the NPFL by permitting clubs to register a maximum of two ex-international players in addition to the maximum 35 allowed in a season.



Introducing the project to the clubs in the circular of April 20, the LMC said “the LMC hereby brings to the notice of all participating Clubs of the NPFL the commencement of its ‘Elite Players Project’. This project is pursuant to Rules 9.65, 9.67. 13.60.1, 13.60(viii) and 15.21 of the NPFL Framework and Rules 2013/14 season”



The LMC further explained that the benefits of the scheme to clubs, players, fans, sponsors and the League. “It has been designed to increase and deepen players-experience pool of the league, bolster the morale and confidence of younger players in the NPFL, project the image of the league as a welcoming and conducive playing environment for the return of Nigeria’s finest crop of international professional footballers and boost the mass appeal of the league for commercialization”.



The LMC however also listed criteria which will qualify any player to benefit from the scheme and stated “the ex-international player must have played for Nigeria at the Olympic Games, Nations Cup, World Cup or alternatively have earned at least 20 international caps and must have played in a world class league of undisputable pedigree for a minimum of five seasons”. In special circumstances that will be determined by the LMC, wavers may be granted in some cases and the Clubs can register such elite players at any point in the season so far they have not exceeded the maximum quota of two in the season.



Already, Enyimba International of Aba may have been the first to take advantage of the project as they are on the verge of presenting former Super Eagles defensive midfielder, Sani Kaita for registration on a short loan stint. South American leagues and South Africa are known to have benefitted hugely from the return of their national stars who made headlines in Europe and it is indeed believed that every South American player, especially Brazil and Argentina always plan to retire from football playing for their domestic league clubs.



The LMC said it will also support the project by paying undisclosed stipends to the players in addition to whatever financial arrangements individual players will reach with interested Clubs.



“To encourage the players settle down, the LMC will pay additional stipends that will make life more comfortable to the elite players and help them adjust faster “, Abubakar disclosed.
Following reported breach of security around Match Officials in Kaduna by members of the Kaduna United Supporters Club after the Match Day 6 encounter between hosts Kaduna United and Heartland FC, the League Management Company (LMC) has banned the Official Supporters Club of the team from all league games for a period of one year. Kaduna United in addition to some financial sanctions have also been ordered to install or restore electricity supply and proper lighting in the tunnel and dressing room area before their next home game  or be made to pay N100,000.00 for each game during which this situation persist.

These decisions and others have are the outcome of the LMC investigation after consideration of the Match Commissioner’s report and have been communicated vide a letter signed by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the LMC, Salihu Abubakar who also announced a decision to fine Kaduna United the sum of N250, 000.
 
“Kaduna United is held responsible for the conduct of their fans as provided for under Rules 115:16 and is therefore fined N250, 000 as a first offender to serve as an appropriate deterrent to all others”, Abubakar wrote.
 
The Club was also held liable for access of unauthorized persons to Match Officials and thereby exposing them to danger. The LMC ruled that “Kaduna United failed to secure egress leading to the Dressing Rooms thereby allowing unauthorized persons access to match officials who were now exposed to potential danger.
 
“For this; Kaduna United shall pay a fine of N100, 000 and undertake to conduct a Supporters' Enlightenment seminar to which leaders of their Supporters Club must be invited to before their next Home game. This seminar must be observed and approved by the LMC”.
 
Abubakar informed the Club that to the Supporters of Kaduna United are being reprimanded for rowdy behaviour after the match and have therefore “been put on notice of possible heavier sanctions should this type of behaviour repeat as envisaged by Rules 13:22”.

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