By James Agberebi
Legendary former Nigerian international, Felix Owolabi, says the walkout by FC IfeanyiUbah in their Nigeria Professional Football League opener against Kano Pillars in Kano on Saturday did not take the shine off Matchday-One of the new NPFL season, Completesportsnigeria.com reports
IfeanyiUbah staged a walkout early in the second half against Kano Pillars after the Centre referee Folusho Ajayi red-carded an official of the club. The club also claimed the referee was bias in disallowing their goal at the stroke of halftime.
Following the incident, the League Management Company, on Monday, fined IfeanyiUbah N9.15 million.
Aside from the monetary fine, IfeanyiUbah are to forfeit three points and three goals from the match as well as a further three points from their future games this season.
Reacting to the issue, Owolabi who won the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria and also the defunct Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Cup with Shooting Stars in 1992, posited that the outcome of other games ensured the new season got off to a good note.
"I don't want to believe the league started on a sad note," Owolabi told Completesportsnigeria.com. "The reason is because before anybody enters for a competition, there are rules guiding the competition. And based on that, oaths are taken about abiding by the laid down rules and regulations.
"So for me, it was not a bad incident, all they should have done is go ahead and finish the match then later carryout their protest. There are alternatives, walking off is not the best way.
"And looking at the referee, we all know that whatever the referee says is final. That is not to say the referee cannot be queried. But after a team must have accepted whatever decision the referee have given during a game, after the game, you can now come back to protest.
"So like I said, it started on a fantastic note, because while some teams were busy winning their home matches, some were drawing and also losing. It was a good opening week in the new season as far as am concern."
FC IfeanyiUbah on Tuesday accepted the sanctions meted out to them by the LMC and tendered an unreserved apology, ruling out an appeal.
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