The final of the Higher Institution Football League (HiFL) is set to go ahead today at the Agege Stadium Lagos after tournament organizers dismissed reports of a court injunction barring the final from taking place.
The game between the Tillers of the University of Agriculture, Markurdi and the Malabites of the University of Calabar had been in doubt following reports that a High Court in Ikoyi had granted an interim injunction to erstwhile technical consultants to the HiFL, Green White Green Sports Centre Limited restraining the organisers and their partners from continuing with any football matches under the HiFL pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.
Mr Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gome of Green White Green Sports Centre Limited had charged PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing organizers of the HiFL to court for a breach of contract after a dispute over the legality of the termination of his company’s consultancy agreement, unpaid consultancy fees and the appointment of referees for certain matches. Gara-Gombe alleges that the agreed fifteen percent accruing from sponsorship deals due his company were unpaid, that certain matches in the league were officiated by unapproved referees and that his firm wasn’t served a 30 day notice prior to the termination of its contract as stipulated in the terms and conditions agreed with PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing on 19 April 2017.
However, in a press conference held yesterday at the Agege Stadium ahead of the final, Director of PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Sola Fijabi said that there was “no Injunction whatsoever” and that the final would go ahead as originally scheduled.
“I can assure you there is no court injunction whatsoever and the games will go on,” Mr Fijabi said. “We have not been served, what we have is a [court] suit that we should come someday and discuss it in court.”
On the charge that students were used as referees in the semi-final between the University of Agriculture, Markurdi and the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Director of Strategy for PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Olamide Adeyemo dismissed the allegations as reports of “those who thrive in mischief”.
“I would like to categorically state that we never used students as reported by some mischief makers and those who thrive in mischief,” he said.
The Higher Institution Football League is an annual football competition for higher education institutions in Nigeria and is open to all member universities of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA).
The inaugural 2018 season featured 16 teams split into two conferences – Sahel and Coastal – playing a series of home and away elimination matches to determine the finalists.
The final between the University of Agriculture, Markurdi and the University of Calabar will take place at the Agege Stadium in Lagos on Saturday, 3 November.
Winners of the league are scheduled to represent Nigeria at the 2019 Summer Universiade of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) games in Naples Italy.