Enyimba International have escaped a possible points deduction by the League Management Company for fielding an ineligible player.
Following protests from Niger Tornadoes at the weekend that the seven-time NPFL champions fielded an ineligible player, Naijafootballplus.com can report that LMC have decided not to duck three points from Enyimba.
Niger Tornadoes alleged that Enyimba midfielder Ikechukwu Ibenegbu was ineligible to play the NPFL Matchday 28 game due to cards accumulation.
Enyimba defeated the Minna based club 3-0 at their adopted home ground U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar. Ibenegbu opened scores for the Peoples’ Elephant late in the first half while Chinonso Okonkwo and Stanley Dimgba sealed the victory in the second-half.
The LMC revealed that Niger Tornadoes could not provide evidence to support application of the NPFL frame work Rule C5.
“Tornadoes had filed a petition seeking to have three points and three goals awarded the club on the grounds that Enyimba fielded a player, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu that was suspended for the match following the accumulation of five yellow cards,” revealed LMC.
“In their defence, Enyimba submitted that they did not intentionally field the player as the notice of suspension did not reach them. They also made references to similar incidents last season in which they alerted Nasarawa United in Makurdi that they were about to field a suspended Thomas Zenke and the player was dropped. Similarly in Port Harcourt last season, Kano Pillars brought to the attention of Enyimba that they were about to field a suspended Nzube Anaezemba leading to Enyimba dropping him. They therefore contended that Tornadoes did not play fair by withholding information only to turn to protest.
“The LMC’s finding was that Tornadoes failed to raise the protest neither at the pre-match meeting nor at any point prior to the commencement of the match which would have established a case of intentionally fielding an ineligible player as envisaged under the relevant section of the rule.
“Suspension notices are sent to both clubs involved in any match in question in order for disputes over eligibility of players to be addressed prior to the match. Note that where a protest is made against the eligibility of a player prior to a match and the other team insists on fielding such player, upon confirmation that the player was ineligible, it would likely be established that the team intentionally featured such a player as envisaged under Rule C5,” read the LMC decision signed by Salihu Abubakar, the Chief Operating Officer.