Kano Pillars captain and midfielder Rabiu Ali has been slammed with a 12-match suspension by the League Management Company (LMC) which oversees the running of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The 32-year-old player was in the centre of “accosting the referee (Adebimpe Quadri) and in so doing incited others to commit acts of violence and misconduct in breach of Rule C1.3” of the NPFL Framework and Rules during his team’s 1-1 draw with Enugu Rangers in a playoff game on Monday.
Trouble started when Quadri awarded a spot kick late in the game to Rangers while Ali and his team were leading by a goal, and needed an outright win to put themselves in pole position of winning the Nigerian title for the fifth time.
After and during the match, fans sympathetic to Kano Pillars and believed to be their faithful “encroached onto the field of play, pursuing after match officials.”
Ali has now been charged and punished for 12 matches with a 48-hour window for an appeal to the sanction from the day of the notice.
However, it is not the first time that the LMC has punished a player with a 12-match ban.
In 2017, nine FC Ifeanyiubah players were issued a 12-match ban for assaulting a referee during a league match against Niger Tornadoes. The players were Ngoma Luamba, Elu Wilson, Isaac Loute, Stephen Eze, Adeleye Olamilekan, Michael Egbeta, Uchenna Godfrey Jr, Douglas Nkrumah and Kone Soumaila.
KANO PILLARS INCUR FINE FOR MELEE
Ali’s club were not left off the hook in the whole incident as the LMC fined the Kano side N8 million (around $22,000). The club were also handed a suspended three-point deduction.
LMC charged Kano Pillars for “failing to control and ensure proper conduct of its players and officials who accosted the match Referee in protest which constituted a breach of Rule C9.”
Kano Pillars will play their final league game of the season against Lobi Stars without their captain Ali on Wednesday night and will hope their rivals Enyimba stumble against Akwa United to give them a chance of winning a fifth title.
© The Predictor NG