By PATRICK OMORODION
Recently the scrabble family was thrown in turmoil as some players, nine in number, took up arms against the Nigeria Scrabble Federation, NSF, over various issues, chief of which was the deduction of some percentages from their earnings.
Deductions from prize monies has been a regular feature in competitions organised and attended by the scrabble family, which has always borne the sponsorship of its athletes to competitions with money it generates from individuals, including some well-to-do players and corporate bodies some State governments, notably Akwa Ibom.
Following this, the NSF wasted no time in suspending these players namely, Chinedu Okwelogu, Wellington Jighere, Eta Karo, Seidu Ayorinde, Deniss Ikekeregor, Prince Omosefe, Cyril Umebiye, Venayori Kinga and Emmanuel Umujose and barred them from attending its competitions including the Akpabio Classics.
The National Sports Commission, NSC however waded in and asked that the suspension be lifted which the NSF accepted but insisted that they have to lose their rankings and must compete in the Opens category. The position by the NSC that the suspended players should be allowed to compete in Uyo irked some of the players who threatened that to protest at the venue.
As a result, the host association headed by Bassey Okon Bassey Okoridem decided to ask the suspended players to stay out of the competition “for security reasons” as their presence could pose a threat to the competition.
“For security reasons and for a usual hitch-free tourney, I want to categorically warn that, the 9 so-called unbanned players who must have paid their registration fee, should arrange to get a refund and not turn up at all for the event,” Okoridem stressed.