In a dramatic escalation in the dispute between Rivers United and football authorities over the final league standings for the 2019-20 Nigeria Professional Football League season, Rivers State sports commissioner Boma Iyaye has threatened to “expose everything” Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick” and his “co-travellers” “have been doing in Nigerian football” over the League Management Company’s decision to place Enyimba over Rivers United in the final league table.
Iyaye issued the threat in a press conference on Thursday in Port Harcourt, where he suggested that Pinnick was in bed with Enyimba and asked for the intervention of sports minister Sunday Dare to help resolve the dispute.
Iyaye who said Rivers United will take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland for a “proper interpretation” of the LMC’s decision, accused Pinnick and LMC chairman Shehu Dikko of taking Nigerian football “fifty years behind” with their conduct.
The final standings were determined by the LMC using points per game and a head-to-head tiebreaker between teams tied on points after the decision was taken to end the season prematurely because of the coronavirus pandemic.
With both Rivers United and Enyimba tied on 1.80 points on the PPG table, Enyimba were placed above Rivers United in second place owing to a superior head-to-head.
Rivers United disagreed with the decision of the LMC to apply head-to-head arguing it is “inconclusive” as just one leg of the tie was played – in Aba which Enyimba won before the league was suspended in March.
A proper measure, the club argued, would have been a goals per game tiebreaker as provided for in the NPFL’s rule book.
Both the LMC and the Football Committee dismissed Rivers United’s complaints, prompting the club to declare they would take their case to CAS.
Iyaye wondered why Pinnick visited Abia State home of Enyimba and their chairman Felix Anyansi-Agwu who is also on the NFF board just three days before the NFF’s football committee issued a slew of recommendations rejecting Rivers United’s position while upholding the LMC’s.
“How did the water enter the melon,” Iyaye wondered, suggesting a collusion between Pinnick and Enyimba over the position of the NFF football committee.
“I am using this opportunity to plead with the federal minister of sports to wade into this matter: Amaju Pinnick that is the president of the Nigeria Football Federation and his co-travellers especially Shehu Dikko the chairman of the League Management Company, are taking Nigerian football fifty years behind and I’m saying this with all evidence within my purview that if these two persons and their co-travellers in the Nigeria Football Federation [are] not called to order Nigerian football will continue to dwindle even worse than the situation we found ourselves.
“How can you have a matter before you and the president of the Nigeria football federation Amaju Pinnick, my friend, will visit Abia State on the 21st of August last week Friday and then you come in Monday the 24th to release a white paper to say this is the decision of the Nigeria Football Federation what has happened how did water enter the melon he should tell us if he doesn’t tell us we will expose everything that they have been doing in Nigerian football.
“And we are saying that we are not going to rest in this matter until rivers united and the people of Rivers State get justice,” he concluded.