DECISIONS OF THE DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE OF THE NIGERIA FOOTBALL
FEDERATION AT ITS MEETING HELD ON 5TH AUGUST, 2021
This case involves Jigawa Golden Stars FC vs. Rivers United FC in a
Match Day 34 fixture played on 21st July, 2021 at Ahmadu Bello
Stadium, Kaduna State.
Rivers United FC is protesting against the fielding of player Richard
Christopher (Jersey number 8) by Jigawa Golden Stars FC in this
instant match, on the grounds of ineligibility, having accumulated
five (5) yellow cards during the season.
Based on the documents in evidence and the submissions of the parties
and the Decisions of the League Management Company (LMC) dated 28th
July 2021, to wit:
“a) That upon consideration of the relevant provisions of the League
Rules, based on the foregoing, the submission of Jigawa Golden Stars
as well as the benchmarks set in previous decisions on matters of this
nature, the LMC is unable to establish that Jigawa Golden Stars
“Intentionally featured” the player in question, who ought to have
b) Consequently, the protest is dismissed and the result of the match
stands (i.e. Jigawa Golden Stars 2-1 Rivers United).
c) The Player is to serve the due suspension as will be directed by the LMC.”
the following findings have been made by this Committee:
1. It was established that the player, Richard Christopher of Jigawa
Golden Stars had accumulated 5 Yellow Cards and was suspended for the
Match Day 34 fixture: Jigawa Golden Stars FC vs. Rivers United FC, by
virtue of C2 of the NPFL Rules.
2. A notification of the suspension of the said player was sent by LMC
to Jigawa Golden Stars FC via [email protected] and
[email protected] (the Club Chairman) on 19th July 2021. That
although [email protected] was listed as the club’s email on
their letterhead including up to the date of their official
correspondences to LMC on 22nd and 23rd July 2021 and had been the
email of the club in use previously, the club had submitted as part of
their club licensing documents for the 2020/2021 season, that their
official email address is [email protected].
3. There are inconsistencies by Jigawa Golden Stars FC in the
representation of their official email address and their channels of
5. The two clubs involved in the matter are in tandem that the LMC did
not live up to its responsibilities in terms of the manner in which
the correspondence was handled.
6. C5 of the NPFL Rules is applicable to the facts of the case and
states as follows:
“If it is established that a team intentionally featured a player who
had earlier received five (5) yellow cards or red card before the
match in question, the affected team will lose 3 points 3 goals to its
1. That a player who is suspended stands suspended whether or not a
notification to that effect is sent to the player or his club. It is
noteworthy that such notifications are for the purpose of raising any
perceived discrepancy and not to validate the suspension, which is
indeed clear from the wordings of the notification sent by the LMC.
2. That C5 of the NPFL Rules cannot be interpreted to make the
punishment for the act of fielding an ineligible player subject to
‘intention’. It is a strict liability offence. The intention is
established upon the confirmation that the player was ineligible for
the match. The word “intentionally” cannot be interpreted to excuse
the negligence or ignorance of the club in this case.
3. Despite the “fundamental benchmarks” referred to by the LMC in
paragraph (m) of their Findings, there is nothing in the Rules making
it a condition-precedent for the implementation of Rule C5 that the
opposing team must have made a protest at the pre-match meeting or at
any point prior to the commencement of the match. Also, it is even
impracticable to envisage that the Rules or procedure of the NPFL
would nullify a suspension on the basis that the opponents did not
protest against the fielding of the ineligible player.
4. Each club has a duty to keep accurate records and the onus cannot
be placed on its opponent to notify the club or raise the issue that
its player is suspended.
5. Based on the foregoing, Jigawa Golden Stars FC shall forfeit 3
points and 3 goals to Rivers United FC in respect of the match, for
fielding an ineligible player in breach of C5 of the NPFL Rules.
6. From the totality of the facts and evidence in this matter, this
Committee is displeased with the manner the LMC handled the subject
matter of this case. It is noted that one of the Conclusions of the
LMC after its Findings from the Decision following its investigation
dated July 28, 2021 (para. 3c) “established that Jigawa Golden Stars
are very untidy and cluttered in the management of their official
registered email address and their official letter headed paper as
well the administrative management of their records.” This Committee
therefore wonders why Jigawa Golden Stars FC would seem to be absolved
of taking responsibility for their action or inaction in this case.
7. This Committee is also displeased that the LMC failed to appear
before it, despite being invited to do so, and considering the weighty
nature of the allegations made against it.
8. It is recommended that going forward, notifications of suspension
should also be sent by the LMC to the match officials, particularly to
the Match Commissioner in order to bring up and clarify issues of
suspended players at the Pre-Match Meeting, and to more efficiently
implement such suspensions.
9. This decision is without prejudice to the right of appeal.
In attendance: Prof. Olufemi Adegbesan (Vice Chairman), Damon N.
Dashe, Esq (Member), Chike Onyeacho, Esq. (Member), Adamu Sani Osmond,
Esq. (Member), Kelvin Omuojine, Esq. (Member), Queen W. Otarakpo, Esq.
The Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, Musa Amadu, Esq. recused
himself from the case due to potential conflict of interest and