Heartland Relegation Trouble Deepens As Club Gets 3-Point Deduction, Hefty Fine

Heartland face an uphill task to avoid relegation in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) this season after the League Management Company (LMC) revealed that the Naze Millionaires will forfeit three points in addition to playing their next three home league matches at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, behind closed doors.

The aforementioned punishment is as a result of the crowd trouble that marred the Matchday 18 home fixture against champions Plateau United which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Heartland fans were unable to live with the result prompting them to descend on the centre referee, Yusuf Garba, who they believed made some controversial calls

Garba was treated at a nearby hospital after sustaining injuries.

In addition to the punishments meted out to the club, the Owerri-based outfit also received a hefty fine of N6.25m.

Heartland were fined N1.5million for fans encroachment after the NPFL match as well as the failure to restrict unauthorised persons to restricted areas during the game.

The club will also pay a N1m fine for the assault on match officials in addition to a N1.25million payment as compensation to the match officials.

The Naze Millionaires also have to pay a N500,000 fine for their failure to use and issue matchday tickets for record and crowd control purposes and another N1million for issuing public statement capable of bringing the league to disrepute.

Lastly, the relegation threatened club also received a N1million fine for unfairly criticising and discrediting match officials who are NPFL officers or agents.

Former Super Eagles defender and the club’s team manager, Mobi Oparaku, has also been slammed with a 10-game ban in the NPFL for his role in the saga.