Nigeria’s League leaders face forced relegation

If the Nigeria Premier League follows the rules to the letter, table toppers, Sunshine Stars may find themselves playing lower division football.

Sunshine Stars have been accused of trying to compromise referees before a League game last week in Bauchi against Wikki Tourist.

Pic: Lobi Stars chairman, Dominic Iorfa and the referees involved
The accusation is made against them by Dominic Iorfa, chairman of Lobi Stars.

Iorfa says he was on his way to Bauchi for the game in which his side, Lobi Stars were hosts when he saw an official vehicle belonging to Sunshine Stars at a military check point.

He asked the soldiers to delay the vehicle and when he got close he discovered three referees supposed to officiate his team’s game against Sunshine in the vehicle belonging to the away team.

He took pictures of the referees and is now calling for the automatic relegation of Sunshine Stars.

“The rules are the rules,” Iorfa said.

“The rules clearly state that no away team should come in contact with referees before a game and penalty for doing that is automatic relegation for the erring side, a fine of twenty million naira and a five year ban for the officials guilty of the offence.

“I urge the NPL to do the right thing. They broke the rules and must be brought to book.”

Photographs of the referees, Santos Okoro from Imo State who was designated to be the centre referee in the match; Auwalu Barau from Kaduna State who was supposed to be the Assistant Referee I, and, Mr. I. Durunna from Abia State who was to be the Assistant Referee II have all been released to the press.

Shortly after that incident, the referees, knowing they had been found out informed the match commissioner that they could no longer make it for the game because of the crisis in Jos and were changed but Iorfa insists it does not take anything away from the fact that Sunshine Stars must receive their full punishment.

The game in question eventually ended 1-1 with the host team scoring what could have been the winning goal though it was disallowed for offside.

The Nigeria Premier League is yet to make an official statement on the issue.

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