By Adeboye Amosu:
Heartland Football Club will now have to forfeit three points and play their next three home matches at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri behind closed doors following the crowd trouble that marred their Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 18 fixture against champions Plateau United last Sunday, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Fans of the Naze Millionaires attacked centre referee, Yusuf Garba, who they claimed made a number of questionable calls in the encounter which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Garba sustained injuries from the attack and had to be treated at a nearby hospital.
In a series of tweets on Friday, the League Management Company revealed that they also fined the club N1.5m for fans encroachment after the game and their failure to restrict unauthorized persons to restricted areas during the match
For the assault on match officials, the LMC fined the club N1m and ruled that they should pay N1.25m as compensation to the match officials.
Another N500,000 fine will be paid by Heartland for their failure to use and issue matchday tickets for record and crowd control purposes, while they will pay another N1m for issuing public statement capable of bringing the league to disrepute.
For unfairly criticizing and discrediting match officials who are officers or agents of the league, Heartland have also been fined N1m.
The LMC also punished team manager of the Owerri club, Mobi Oparaku for his role in the incident and the former Nigeria international has been suspended from all it’s activities for the next 10 games.
With the decision of the LMC, the former NPFL champions now face a tough task in maintaining their top flight status as they sit in the last position in the table with 15 points from 18 games.
The club only gained promotion to the top flight last season after spending a season in the Nigeria National League.
LMC also docked Sunshine Stars three accrued points early in the season for a similar offence.