The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Monday came down heavily on the culprits of the infamous 146 goals match fixing scandal that rocked the nation’s football circles recently, even as some key officials have been given soft landing.
Players and officials of the clubs involved in the two play-off games - Plateau United Feeders, Akurba FC, Police Machine FC and Bubayero FC - were banned for life, while the four clubs were banned from the game for 10 years.
Making this known to the sporting press in the board room of the NFF secretariat in Abuja, the first vice-president of the NFF board who also doubles as the chairman of the Organising and Disciplinary Committee, Chief Mike Umeh said after due deliberation that followed the debriefing of all the actors involved in the saga, the only option was to visit serious sanction on the culprits because of the disrepute they have brought the game to.
Reading from a prepared text, Umeh said: “All the players and officials of the four clubs involved in the two matches, Plateau United Feeders FC, Akumba FC of Nasarrawa, Police Machine of Adamawa, Bubayero FC registered for the two matches are banned for life, including their technical and administrative staff who led them to the playoff in Bauchi.”
“It will be recalled that the two fixtures have given the football world a record goal of 146 with Plateau Feeders accounting for 79 of the goals while Police Machine scored 67 goals against Bubayero FC of Gombe.
“From the text read to newsmen, while winners a were desperate to win, losers too were desperate to lose, even though the committee could not establish any exchange of money or material inducement, circumstantial evidence was overwhelmingly high and points to one conclusion of match fixing which has brought global embarrassment to the Nigeria Football Federation.
But one intriguing aspect of the sanction is that the centre coordinator Alhaji Tanko Bawa Maiyaki, board member of the Nigeria Nationwide League though found seriously wanting in the discharge of his responsibilities, his case has been referred to the Nationwide league board for appropriate action. An act observers consider a slap on the wrist.
Meanwhile, the NFF says the photographs of the culprits have been sent to all relevant security agencies to forestall further ploy.
Making this known to newsmen, the head of National Competition of the NFF Dr Sanusi Mohammed said, “so far as we are talking to you people now, we are already sending I mean scanning their pictures to the Inspector General of Police, the SSS, CAF and FIFA, we know they could go ahead to change names and other particulars but on our part we intend to tie up all loose ends with this act,” Sanusi said.