BY AHMED TUKUR, LAFIA – Following the League Management Committee (LMC)’s sanctions against Nasarawa United Football Club over security breaches at the Lafia Township Stadium last week, the state government has assured of improved measures to forestall a recurrence.
The State Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Othman Bala Adam said government is taking adequate steps to re-enforce security at the arena during matches.
Speaking with Sport journalists onSaturday at the Lafia Township stadium, Adam apologised to the LMC, promising that the government has resolved to ensure such unfortunate incident does not occur again.
The LMC had slammed a one year suspension on Nasarawa United player, Seun Komolafe for inciting the club supporters to violence against match officials.
It also cautioned the Clhb’s Media Officer, Eche Emos for unfairly criticizing match officials, an action capable of bringing the league to disrepute.
Similarly, the LMC, in sanctioning the club, ordered that its home matches will henceforth be played behind closed doors, even as the team’s curator, Aliyu Hamzat bagged a life ban for
allegedly leading the attack on the match officials
The Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) 2019/2020 Match Day 4 fixture between Nasarawa United and Plateau United at the Lafia Township stadium ended in a rancourous manner.
Some yet to be identified fans reportedly invaded the pitch to attack some match officials, blaming the one-all draw outcome on poor officiating.
The Commissioner, who acknowledged receipt of the disciplinary action taken against the Club, said the State government has fully accepted the LMC’s sanctions for the unruly behaviour of fans and some officials of the Club.
Promising to ensure such unfortunate incident does recur, the Commissioner said; “We register our displeasure as a government about what transpired because it is not in our habit or culture to be violent.
“We assure the LMC that this will never repeat itself as we have decided to put in place effective security measures to safeguard not just the referees and players, but also our Very Important Persons (VIPs) and the fans.”
Adams said the State government declined to appeal against the disciplinary actions because the incident was well documented, acknowledging that the LMC has been lenient by not outrightly banning the Club from playing its home matches at the Lafia Township stadium.
“We really thank them for giving us matches behind closed door and I believe after one or two home matches with improved conduct on our part, they will rrscind the decision because of the security steps that we would have taken by then,” he said.
Bala-Adams also assured that the state government will liaise with the State Football Association (FA) and Referees Association in the state to educate supporters on the rules of the game as it is currently.
“This will go a long way in getting them abreast with contemporary laws of the game and the moment you ate at home with contemporary laws of the game, you are at home with whatever officiating you observe because you might not take it personal,” he said.
Mohammed Alkali, Chairman of the State FA also condemned the violent attacks and assured that the FA will synergize with the state government to rid violence on match officials for good in this state.
“I have spoken verbally with the commissioner of youth and sports and we have agreed to take certain steps to ensure that security of everyone in the stadium is well planned and put in place.
“I want to assure you that before our next match, most of these steps would have been put in place,” he added.