“Football organizers do not have the power to sanction clubs”

The League Management Company, (LMC), organizers of the Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL; the Nigerian Women’s Football League (NWFL); the Nigeria National League (NNL) and Nationwide League One (NLO) do not have the power to sanction, punish or reprimand clubs participating in their leagues.
Former Nigeria Premier League, NPL and Second Vice President of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, Chief Ramson Baribote said as much recently.
In an exclusive interview, the chairman of Nembe City Football Club opined that the league organizers do not have the statutory powers to sanction, punish or reprimand clubs playing in the various leagues in the country.
Chief Baribote, a lawyer, said this following a two million naira fine imposed on Naija Ratels Football Club by the Nigeria Women’s Football League NWFL board last week, which sparked concerns. wide opinions on its advisability.
Announcing the heavy sanction, the NWFL Board of Directors said: “In the case of Naija Ratels, the letter addressed to the club president, lawyer Edeh, and signed by the NWFL Chief Operating Officer , Women’s League Council Modupe Shabi said that: “We refer you to Match No 2 between Nasarawa Amazons FC and Naija Ratels FC scheduled for 16th May 2022 in Benin City, State of Edo. You will recall that your club did not wear the Tulcan Energy brand shirts even though the other participating teams agreed to wear the sponsor’s shirt. This action alone by Naija Ratels FC almost brought the game into disrepute and questioned the credibility of the league.
“In view of the above, Naija Ratels FC violated the NWFL Bylaws on Sponsorship, Articles 7.8, 7.9, 7.10.
And therefore, Article 23.2.2 states: “Any club owner/official who discredits the game or ridicules the NWFL in public through remarks, misconduct, communication or any form of communication shall be sanctioned by payment of the sum of (N2,000,000) Two million Naira and three months suspension.
However, Chief Baribote countered the decision of the NWFL board of directors, stating that no league organizer or board of directors has the right to interpret its own laws, adding that this power is domiciled with of the Disciplinary Committee of the Football Federation of Nigeria.
“If I comment on this, they will rain insults on me. Where is our football really going? I don’t understand. The Council of the League is assimilated to that of the police which prepares the file and seizes the court for interpretation. They (the police) cannot convict or impose penalties on anyone based on alleged offences. These powers belong to the judiciary in this case with the judiciary organ of the Nigerian Football Federation, as is clearly stated in Article 64 of the NFF Statutes, The Judiciary Organs;
1. The Disciplinary Commission
2. The appeal committee
“So if anyone is not satisfied with the verdict of the Disciplinary Committee, then you can appeal the verdict/decision of the Disciplinary Committee to the Appeals Committee,” he said.
Asked if the LMC has been sanctioning clubs since time immemorial, Chief Baribote said league organizers blatantly arrogating to themselves powers they do not have does not make the situation right .
“The law is established that you cannot be a judge in your own case. The league board cannot interpret and apply its rules/laws. I want to be corrected. Once I led the Premier League board and again, are these club chairmen giving them (the league board) the opportunity to appear and defend themselves?
“If the league council imposes such fines and suspensions, what will the disciplinary committee do? With what is stated above, this amounts to a usurpation of the powers of the judicial bodies of the NFF by the councils of the League and such a decision cannot stand up to that.
“There is a separation of powers, the judicial bodies of the NFF cannot organize football/league games and the league council also cannot function as the judicial body of the NFF. But wetin I sabi sef…” he concluded in pidgin English.

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