BY OKEY NDIRIBE
Sunshine Football Club of Akure and Dolphins Football Club of Port-Harcourt were yesterday fined N20 million and N10 million respectively by the Organising and Disciplinary Panel of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for their culpability in a match fixing scandal.
The Panel’s ruling which was delivered by its Chairman Barrister Leye Adepoju also recommended a ban of five years for the President of Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) Ahmed Maude “for not having the moral authority to continue in office as head of the referees association.
Also banned by the Panel are referees Chrysanthus Okoro and Chukwuma Durunna who were supposed to officiate as centre referee and assistant referee two during the Sunshine Stars versus Lobi Stars of Makurdi Nigeria Premier League match of September 1, 2011. The Technical Adviser of Dolphins Football Club Mr Stanley Eguma was also banned for five years.
The Panel had delivered the ruling based on a petition that was filed by the Coach of Lobi Starts Football Club Mr Dominic Iorfa which accused the Management of Sunshine Stars Football Club and Dolphine Football Club of match fixing.
The petition filed by Iorfa had narrated in detail how Okoro and Durunna who were supposed to officiate in a league match that was supposed to take place on September 1 2011 between Lobi Stars and Sunshine Football Club were found inside a car belonging to Mr Divine Benjamin- a senior official of Ondo State Sports Council which runs the Akure based club. The Lobi Stars Coach had tendered photographs of the the referees and Benjamin while they were emerging from the car.
The Panel also concluded from its investigations that there was evidence to suggest that the NRA President used his position to ensure that referees from Kaduna State who were close to him officiated in matches involving Sunshine Stars. Iorfa had also tendered the NRA’s schedule of referees for different league matches across the country in his petition.