Enyimba demand 3 points, 3 goals from botched league tie with Pillars

The Peoples Elephant have declared the replay order from the LMC as miscarriage of justice and unacceptable based on the evidence that pointed out that there was crowd violence

Enyimba have called on the League Management Company (LMC) to award to them the maximum points from their botched match day 31 Nigeria Premier League tie against Kano Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium.

The Aba Millionaires declared as unacceptable the decision of the LMC to order a replay of the league tie when there is overwhelming evidence that their opponents erred based on the sanctions imposed on them by the league body.

In a letter sent to the Chief Operating Officer of the LMC, Salisu Abubakar and signed by the chairman of the Peoples Elephant, Felix Anyansi Agwu, the club is calling for the league body to stick in all entirety to the rules and regulations of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) regarding encroachment and disruption of matches as enshrined in its Article 4.3 (1) quoted thus:" Any club guilty of disturbances during and after a match shall be banned to a neutral ground to play their matches for the rest of the season. The club shall forfeit 3 points and 3 goals to the opponent. In addition, 3 points and goals shall be deducted from the already accrued points of the club."

Explaining why Kano Pillars should be docked those points Anyansi Agwu said: "Kano Pillars in that game disrupted the match not once but three times for a total duration of 30 minutes. A match that started at 4.00pm up till 6:30pm had not ended as a result of the encroachment and disruption.

"The rules regarding failure to continue matches in Article 4.2(2) states that: "No club supporter, player or official shall encroach on the field during play. Any supporter that encroached on the field of play to cause discontinuation of a match, the club shall be fined and in addition to Article 4.3 (1) shall apply.

"Enyimba wishes to declare the ruling of the LMC to have the Match day 31 game between Kano Pillars and Enyimba replayed completely unacceptable. We are concerned by the decision which is not stipulated in the rules governing the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) all the way to CAF and FIFA if need be.

"We believe the decision undermines the extremely violent conduct of Kano Pillars and gives them an undeserved opportunity to earn points when they should in fact, as contained in the rules quoted above to forfeit 3 points and 3 goals to Enyimba."

Enyimba confirmed that Kano Pillars fans invaded the pitch and violently assaulted their players as well as match officials for the game. The club alleged that its cameraman was beaten during the first half and his camera seized and damaged. The tape contained within, Enyimba explained was also seized and destroyed.

The Aba Millionaires reasoned that the punishment meted out to Pillars by the LMC which included their banishment to Kaduna for the rest of the season and payment of N5m showed that the club was guilty of the action. Enyimba said it is needless calling for a replay when the rules governing the NPL states that they should be handed three points and three goals and that Pillars should be docked 3 points and 3 goals from their total haul on the log.

Anyansi Agwu called it miscarriage of justice:"This is clear miscarriage of justice. In the interest of fairness and equality and peace, the LMC must do what is right and hand Enyimba all 3 points and 3 goals. A replay can only occur in the case of force majeure but thousands of fans invading the pitch and assaulting players and match officials is not force majeure. It is against everything that we stand for in the NPL and the LMC must act accordingly. They must demonstrate a commitment to uphold justice regardless of the guilty party. They must send a strong message that they are ready to clamp down on crowd violence, a disturbing aspect of our club football.

 "The LMC should release the reports of the Match Commissioner and the referee for the entire world to see. Nothing should be kept hidden.

"Progress can only be made when there is justice and this decision to have a game where players and match officials were brutalised is not justice. We will not relent in our efforts to go at any length until justice prevails. History will remember your judgement," Anyansi Agwu concluded.

Goal recalls that the Match day 31 tie decided at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano was declared inconclusive after alleged crowd violence. LMC preliminary verdict would be reviewed later Friday when the Disciplinary Committee of the NFF meets at Abuja to decide on it and other lingering matters in the league.