Chineme Martins: Nasarawa United Fined N6m, Docked Six Points Over Player’s Death

Chineme Martins

Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side Nasarawa United have been fined six million naira and docked six points in the wake of events in the Matchday 23 fixture with Katsina United that led to the death of Nasarawa defender Chineme Martins.

The deducted six points will come into effect in the event of a similar breach and the club has been barred from hosting games at the Lafia Township Stadium until medical requirements and measures stipulated in the League Rules are fully complied with the League Management Company said on Thursday.

Martins slumped during the match and following abortive attempts to revive him at the Stadium and a delay in getting him to medical help after the designated ambulance failed to start, the player was eventually declared dead at the Dalhatu-Araf Specialist hospital.

The LMC also demanded the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) permanently withdraws from subsequent NPFL matches, the Match Commissioner in the ill-fated match Mr Christian Mbah of the Enugu State Football Association for failing to perform his statutory duty to ensure all requirements including medical personnel and equipment were in place before allowing the match to go ahead.

He was also accused of failing to submit his match report within the stipulated time frame despite the aggravated incident from the match.

The NFF in another letter by the LMC, was also requested to trim the number of those selected as Match Commissioners in NPFL matches and retain only those who have demonstrated high level of competence in enforcing provisions of the NFF Club Licensing Requirements. The LMC says it is in line with the ongoing review of strategies to improve existing medical protocol and general security at NPFL Match venues.

Other Match Commissioners were reminded that they must on no account start a match where the full compliments of medics are not available at the venue.

In a related development, a tripartite high powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, NFF, LMC and other key Stakeholders would be constituted by the NFF in consultation with the Minister of Youth and Sports. The Committee would review the incident in Lafia and make recommendations on how to improve matchday medical services and general security of players, officials and fans among other steps aimed at improving the NPFL matchday organization and experience across all venues.

Nasarawa United, in a Summary Jurisdiction Notice issued Thursday afternoon charged with breaches of Rule B12.7.1, B12.7.4 and C1 of the Framework and Rules of the NPFL.

The LMC cited the club for breaching regulatory requirements regarding stadium health and safety protocols and personnel in the course of the match against Katsina United.

Nasarawa United were also charged with breach of Rule B12.7.5 of the Framework and Rules of the NPFL for failing to ensure that no person other than the official medical personnel were permitted to treat players.

The club was also charged for breach of Rule B12.7.8 for failing to ensure that a standard, equipped and a duly-staffed ambulance was available at the ground to transport any player or official requiring emergency treatment to the hospital.

On the fourth count, Nasarawa United was charged for breach of Rule C1 of the Framework in that as the home team, it failed to comply with mandatory terms of the league rules and the club licensing regulations, including the provision of fundamental safety and medical requirements, which constituted conduct capable of bringing the league to disrepute.

In its ruling, the LMC said it took cognizance of the club’s compliance with the mandatory medical examinations and records of contracted players under Rule B12.10 in imposing sanctions.

Nasarawa United was fined N5,000,000 to be paid within ten (10) working days and another fine of N1,000,000 for conduct capable of bringing the league to disrepute.

The LMC also made a suspended order of six points deduction/forfeiture which will be activated should a similar breach occur before the end of the 2020/2021 season.

The club is required within 48 hours of the date of the notice, to either accept in writing, the summary jurisdiction and the sanctions or elect to be dealt with by a Commission.