By Peterson Ibi /Benin
The management of Bendel Insurance FC of Benin, has rejected the decision of the Nigeria National Football (NNL) disciplinary committee, on the case of assault, security breaches and field encroachment filed against Remo Stars FC by the club.
The rejection was contained in a statement by the Edo State government-owned club, signed by its Media Officer, Kehinde Osagiede.
Recall that the Benin Arsenal players and their officials were attacked on Sunday, 6 June 2021, when they went to play a league game with the Ogun State-based football club.
Five players, two coaches, a team manager and two supporters were critically injured when supporters of Remo Stars FC allegedly encroached into the field.
The injured players and officials are still on admission at the Benin Central Hospital.
But, the disciplinary committee of the football body, in its judgement on the incident, awarded a fine of N400,000 against the management of Remo Stars, a decision the angared the Insurance FC.
The Edo State-owned football club while alleging that Remo Star bought the judgement, vowed not to play any match until they get justice.
Please read all the accusations of Insurance FC against the NNL:
“We received the Nigeria National Football (NNL) Disciplinary Committee’s judgement on the case of assault, security breaches and field encroachment established against Remo Stars with dismay, disbelief and total loss of confidence in the country’s football regulatory body.
“We see the judgement as biased and nothing but an instrument for encouraging further violence in Nigeria football, a call to anarchy, and is therefore unacceptable.
“The only substance derivable from the judgment is the untouchable status vested on Remo Stars by NNL.
“Directing Remo Stars to pay N400,000 to Bendel Insurance FC as damages is a big insult to us and the people of Edo state.
“Banishment of Remo Stars with no option from their stadium over the encroachment and assault on our players and officials would have been the first action taken against Remo Stars. The failure of the disciplinary committee to mention that in their list of sanctions amounts to suffocation of justice. This is so because no other offender(s) in similar cases were warned or asked to sign any undertaking in the recent past.
“Without any apology, the judgment is unbelievably irresponsible and capable of promoting violence among football lovers and killing the enthusiasm of football supporters in the country.
“Considering similar cases (though with lesser offences and injuries) involving Holly Arrows in which the judgment banished Holly Arrows to Enugu; and that of Kano Pillars in which the NPFL team was fined N7.5M, it is easy to arrive at the conclusion that the judgement by the NNL disciplinary committee on Remo Stars v Bendel Insurance FC is bought by Remo Stars.
“We believe that the panel did not look at the rules book, particularly(Act.16:1-4) before arriving at their conclusion.
“Insurance FC will therefore explore other legal alternatives to seek Adequate redress by way of appealing to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Appeal Committee and may go to higher authority.
“Grounds of appeal:
“1. The Issue of encroachment which has been established warrants a ban on the Remo Stars home venue.
“2. Physical assault which has also been established warrants disciplinary action against the Remo FC officials involved.
“3. The NNL should institute criminal prosecution against the Remo FC officials and supporters identified to have physically assaulted Insurance players and officials.
“4. Ogun State FA was not indicted and punished for inadequate security at the venue. Only 3 policemen were at the stadium, contrary to the required number as contained in the NNL Rules and Regulations.
“5. The amount of general damages awarded against Remo FC (N400,000:00) is too small and does not reflect the extent of financial losses incurred by Insurance.
Medical bills could not have been presented as the injured players and officials were still on admission in hospital undergoing treatment as at the time of the hearing.
“Finally, we will not play any match until we get justice.”