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NPFL: League leaders Giwa FC, El-Kanemi Warriors, others banned from playing on home grounds

The League Management Company has announced the suspension of nine clubs from playing league games at their traditional home grounds for various offences has regards conditions of playing turf.

The twenty stadia serving as home grounds for all the twenty clubs in the league were subjected to inspection during the three weeks break that started after round ten of matches.

Following the assessment of the LMC team, Giwa FC, FC Taraba, El-Kanemi Warriors, Heartland, FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Wikki Tourists, Abia Warriors, Akwa United, and Nasarawa United, have all been found to have their stadia in conditions of disrepair and thus are suspended from playing league matches at home.

In effect, only Enyimba International Stadium (Enyimba Intl), Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium (Enugu Rangers), Liberation Stadium (Dolphins FC), Oghara Township Stadium and Warri Township Stadium (Warri Wolves), Sani Abacha Stadium (Kano Pillars), Akure Township Stadium (Sunshine Stars), Aper Aku Stadium (Lobi Stars), Lekan Salami Stadium(Shooting Stars) and Ilorin Township Stadium (Kwara United) have been granted full approval to continue to host matches.

The suspension will commence immediately after Match Day 11 games.

Four of the nine affected clubs were directed to effect minor repairs on their pitches for which another round of inspection would be carried out after Match Day 12. The clubs are Heartland, FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Wikki Tourists and Abia Warriors.

Five other clubs – Giwa FC, FC Taraba, El-Kanemi Warriors, Akwa United and Nasarawa United – whose grounds were adjudged to be in great disrepair, have had their grounds suspended to host games in the next two weeks, following which progress of the repairs would be reviewed again.

This stadium review would however not disrupt Match Day 12 encounters as the troubled clubs have been directed to choose alternative home grounds while they fix the problems recorded against their playing turf.

The alternative venues inspected and recommended for the clubs to host their games include the Abuja National Stadium, UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar, Uyo International Stadium and Karkanda Stadium in Katsina. Others are Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu Ode, Pantami Stadium in Gombe, Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos and Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna.

Most of these stadia are not currently hosting league games.

“What we have done is to allow them time to fix the identified problems and if they get it right, the suspension will be lifted but if they don’t, it stays”, explained Salihu Abubakar , the LMC Chief Operating Officer. “The clubs are free to choose any of these recommended venues for their home games until their grounds are re-certified.”

The LMC Board also gave the clubs a deadline of 45 days to work on other aspects of the facilities that were found to be below requirement.

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