Sports Hooliganism: Stop This, Before Its Too Late

By Desmond Ekwueme

Posted  227 Views updated 1 year ago

June 13, 2021 at Ahmadu Bello stadium in Kaduna, the NPFL Week 25 fixture between Kano Pillars FC and Akwa United was disrupted due to crowd violence and encroachment on the field of play.

The match officials were harassed. The organisers of the League slammed a N5m fine on Kano Pillars and an additional N2.5m for breaching Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions rules.

On June 27 at the Jos Township stadium, it was alleged that the Week 28 fixture between Plateau United and Enyimba which ended goalless had some crowd troubles at some players were injured in the fights by irate fans.

These incidents do not paint a good image of and for the NPFL especially in a situation whereby the league has no sponsor. It doesn't portend anything positive for the NPFL and indeed the country at large.

Developments like these will further scare away potential sponsor(s) of the league if at all there is any willing to patronise the League Management Company (LMC)...more so, an imminent danger looms if, the LMC fails to do the needful to stop these acts of hooliganism by fans of the teams who obviously cannot be controlled by the clubs.

The danger imminent is the possibility of hoodlums hijacking crowd violence to perpetrate evil especially in these times of insecurity across the country. Recall that an assistant stadium manager was recently killed by unknown gunmen.

When clubs from any of the regions or geopolitical zones travel for league engagements and it ends in fracas whereby player(s) of the visiting clubs lose his or their life or lives (God forbid). It could heat up the already troubled polity. This could spell doom.

From recent developments, it is clear that mere fine on errant teams is not enough disciplinary measure to serve as deterrent to these erring clubs and their uncontrollable fans.

Something more drastic needs to be done to nip this development in the bud before it gets out of hand. A stitch in time saves nine.

The signs are ominous. If after Kano Pillars were fined a whopping N5m in less than two weeks yet there is another crowd trouble in Jos as alleged last week then, it means the clubs and their fans are not willing to change their bad ways. LMC shouldn't wait until the worst happens before they do the needful.

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