Nigeria League: Bukola Saraki FC, Gateway FC’s promotion bids suffer setback


The celebration of a supposed promotion to the Nigeria Premier League by players, fans and officials of Abubakar Bukola Saraki Football Club (ABS FC) has been short-lived.

This Nigeria Football Federation’s Disciplinary Committee’ decision to order a replay of the abandoned match between ABS FC and Ogun State club, Gateway FC.

The match between the two promotion-chasing teams failed to hold in Ilorin over the weekend, which saw ABS FC claiming a walk-over.

The walk-over, if sanctioned by the NFF, could have translated to ABS FC getting three goals and three points that could have authenticated their promotion.

But after their meeting on Thursday, the NFF Disciplinary Committee ordered a replay of the game.

Among other things, the committee said it was able to establish that  the contingent of the away team, Gateway FC, was deliberately delayed, by the home team ABS FC from gaining access to the stadium and the field of play.

The committee also noted that the increase in the cost of match tickets by the home team, ABS FC, to N10,000 (popular) and N15,000 (VIP) on the day of the match, was arbitrary and unreasonable.

On Gateway FC’s part, the committee said the conduct of the Ogun State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Afolabi Afuape, within and around the technical area was unbecoming of an official of his position and  capable of bringing the game to disrepute.

Gateway FC was also fined N1 million on the grounds of complaints over intimidation, harassment, inadequate security and the delay of the home team in granting them access to the stadium and the field of play.

As ordered the NFF committee, the ABS FC VS Gateway FC match is to be replayed on Wednesday, at the same time and venue as earlier scheduled, with a new set of match officials.

Both Clubs are to bear their respective costs for honouring the game.

The Committee said its decisions were without prejudice to any right of appeal.

Gateway FC have been relegated from the Premier League since 2010 while ABS FC went down in 2013.

ABS FC is  privately run by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and are seeking promotion from the Nigeria National League which is the second-tier of the Nigeria Football League system to the Premier cadre.

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