…Imposes fines on both clubs for the Matchday 15 fracas in Katsina
With a view to permanently ending the continued aggressive rivalry between supporters of Kano Pillars and Katsina United, the League Management Company (LMC) has ruled that subsequent Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) matches between Kano Pillars and Katsina Utd will be played without fans until both clubs and other stakeholders reach an understanding that will guarantee peaceful behaviour of the fans and respect for public order during the matches.
The decision is part of a wide-ranging exercise of summary jurisdiction by the LMC in the aftermath of the fans disturbance that ensued after the MatchDay 15 fixture between the two clubs.
As part of steps to put an end to the unhealthy rivalry, the LMC has also elected to supervise meetings and engagements between Katsina United and Kano Pillars Management and their respective supporters clubs’ leadership to discuss the persistent rivalry between the two clubs fans with the objective to curtailing any future occurrences of breaches and ensure peaceful engagement between the two clubs.
And to preserve the health of furniture at the Muhammadu Dikko stadium, Kano Pillars and Katsina United are to share the cost of the replacement of the damaged seats and glass widows at the stadium upon validation of the fair cost of repairs by the LMC.
Still to ensure that no further incidence occurs at matches between both clubs, they have been directed to continue to engage and cooperate with the Police and other Security agencies to ensure proper Identification of the unruly fans involved in the aggressive incidents and breach of public peace in the aftermath of the match for further investigation and necessary actions/prosecution. To this end, an LMC special delegate will be assigned to monitor this process and ensure full compliance.
While imposing some financial sanctions on both clubs in accordance with the NPFL Framework and Rules, the LMC said it may impose further deterrent measures on both clubs if the final Police investigations report warrants such move.
Supporters of both clubs were found culpable in the inappropriate and aggressive incidents that attended the match and the LMC noted the incidents happened outside the stadium beyond the jurisdiction of the match stewards.
Accordingly, the clubs have been found in breach of sections of the NPFL Rules and Framework and sanctioned to the extent of their culpability.
A summary jurisdiction notice by the LMC signed by Salihu Abubakar, the chief operating officer, noted that upon a review of the official reports and investigation into the Match Day 15 fixture including the incidents that occurred thereafter, Katsina United and Kano Pillars were found in breach of Rules C23- 26.
The investigation determined that during the half-time interval, supporters of Katsina United (the home Club) threw objects (including water sachets and plastic water bottles ) towards players of Kano Pillars (the visiting team) as they made their way towards the dressing room, which act was done repeatedly and consistently, thereby forcing players and officials of both teams as well as the match officials to remain on the field of play throughout the half-time interval.
It was also found that in the course of the match, supporters of both Clubs engaged in inappropriate and aggressive conduct against each other, which was instigated by supporters of Katsina United and the fracas, led to damage to some stadium property such as plastic chairs and glass windows.
A third finding was that after the match, there were further incidents of breach of public order outside the stadium within the city, allegedly involving supporters of both clubs.
The LMC said considering the findings and in the exercise of its powers of summary jurisdiction pursuant to Rule C23 – C26, Katsina United were fined a total of N3.5m and an order to play subsequent home matches behind closed doors pending completion of the investigation while Kano Pillars were fined N1.2m.
Details of the fines against Katsina United include N1,500,000 for an aggravated breach of Rule B13.18 i.e. pursuant to Rule C19, as the act of throwing objects towards the visiting team was repeated and consistent to the extent that it resulted in both teams and the match officials being forced to remain on the field of play throughout the half-time interval is considered an aggravated breach of Rule B13.18 with a view to imposing a more severe sanction.
A fine of N1,000,000 for misconduct by its supporters who left their alloted terrace to engage rival fans in the course of the match, in breach of Rule C1 and punishable by virtue of Rule B15.17 and N1,000,000 for failure to ensure effective security and crowd control in view of the disturbances during and after the match, in breach of Rule B13.52.
Sanctions imposed on Kano Pillars include a fine of N1,000,000 for misconduct by its supporters who left their alloted terrace to engage rival supporters in the course of the match, in breach of Rule C1 and punishable by virtue of Rule B15.17 and a fine of N200,000 for attempting to game the system in breach of article E1.4 of the code of conduct by circulating inaccurate and misleading information after the match as well as failure to provide necessary information to aid the investigation such as identity of the two fans injured, medical reports and for further questioning by the police authorities as to how they got injured.
The clubs are required, within 48 hours of the date of the notice, to either submit in writing to the summary jurisdiction and the sanctions or elect to be dealt with by a Commission.