The umbrella body of the 20 clubs participating in the Nigeria Professional Football League, (NPFL)Stars, Club Owners Association, has fired back at Lobi Stars to stop it’s negative criticism of the Association and the method adopted to end the 2019/2020 Nigeria top flight that had been suspended since March 18, following the outbreak of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Completesports.com reports.
Following Lobi Stars rejection of the exercise in a statement on Monday through the club’s Media and Communication Officer, Austine Tyowua, the Club Owners Association have responded, hitting back at the 1999 and 2018 champions over what it regarded as ‘rubbish’ utterances.
“First and foremost, the whole issue of the best amongst four options on how to finally end the 2019/2020 NPFL season has not been officially announced by the League Management Company (LMC),” the Club Owners said in response to Lobi Stars outburst.
“Secondly, the online voting process conducted by the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Club Owners Association of Nigeria on the options was an internal exercise of the body, which we understand was leaked by Lobi Stars FC boss to the Media, to discredit the association and the process.
“We are still marvelled at how his Media Officer was able to access our internal memos. The necessary sanctions awaits him inline with the disciplinary rules of the association”.
The statement made available to Complete Sports and signed by its Secretary, Alloy Chukwuemeka, disclosed that PPG had been a globally acceptable rule, saying that for Lobi Stars to accuse the Association of promoting illegality would be treated accordingly inline with relevant rules.
“Accusing LMC and Club Owners Association, of promoting illegality by proposing the Point-Per-Game (PPG) system in determining the standings on the league table, such erroneous accusation will be treated accordingly inline with the relevant rules.
“PPG has been a universal acceptable standard process to determine game and to ensure sporting fairness. It has been tested overtime and applied by some countries, including France, to end their season in similar circumstances like ours.
“Those who challenged the PPG at the court in France were ruled against, thus confirming the genuineness and authenticity of the process in taking such decisions”.
He stated that Lobi Stars were crying foul of the PPG because it did not favour the club to get a continental ticket.
“He (Lobi Stars Media and Communications Officer, Austine Tyowua) forgot that two seasons ago, clubs made sacrifices in the overall interest of the system when they unanimously voted for Lobi Stars to take the CAF Champions League ticket to the detriment of others who were in better positions to displace them, had the league been completed.
“Lobi Stars, by pointing accusing fingers on its fellow clubs like Rivers United FC, Enyimba FC and others have demonstrated and displayed the highest level of ungratefulness to those clubs who two seasons ago, sacrificed their positions based on prevailing circumstances and for the interest of oneness, agreed that the club (Lobi Stars) be allowed to fly the country’s flag at the CAF Champions League.
“The Club also displayed its lack of understanding of its club’s motto ‘Shoe get size’ when it tried to compare its performances in continental football championship with that of Enyimba FC, a case of a Makurdi rat raising shoulder with an Aba Elephant.
“Moreso, that Enyimba FC moved up from 5th to 2nd position via PPG is a clear indication that they earned more points from lesser games played, a sign that they are giants and it is based on merit”.
The Club Owners Association accused Lobi Stars of playing double standard.
“On the issue of online voting by the Club Owners, Lobi Stars FC fully participated through their Chairman, Mr. Mike Idoko, who voted for option C which was tagged ‘Abstain’ (electronic evidence of his voting is available for sighting)”.
“They also erroneous alleged that only option A was displayed for voting, if this was true, how then did Rangers vote for option B which is Super 6 play off?”.
“They claimed that the online voting was done between 4pm to 8pm, disallowing them from consulting with their Club Management.
“If this is true, how then did Mr. Mike Idoko duly participate throughout the four hours duration of the voting exercise?. Or have they forgotten that other clubs who voted in their favour two seasons ago did it via voice vote and a duration of less than 25 minutes without consulting their different managements.
“While we advise Lobi Stars to accept the popular verdict in the best interest of the game as occasioned by the unfortunate incident of the novel Covid-19 pandemic, it is notable to restate that the adoption of the PPG mechanism in determining the table is for sporting fairness as we were faced with some clubs playing lesser matches than others.
“More so Lobi Stars should appreciate and reciprocate the sacrifices made by other clubs when we were faced with similar challenges and circumstances in the past which favoured them.
“They should also caution their Media Officer to mind his choice of words in public space as well as accord due respect to the persons, positions and offices of the Chairman of the Club Owners Association of Nigeria and that of the LMC.
“To our esteemed member, Mr Mike Idoko, the leakage of the internal online voting to the Media apparently to discredit the Association and the process did not in any way affect the genuineness, transparency and authenticity of the voting and its unanimous adoption by the majority of the club chairmen.
It is our common resolve to use the opportunity created by this pandemic to revisit our league and ensure that we come back stronger with uncommon reforms and transformation to make the NPFL better going forward”.
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By Sab Osuji