The Applicability of the NPFL Framework and Rules — Jersey Inscriptions and Professionalism

By Daily Sports on June 18, 2016

Views: 2,453

Over the years football in Nigeria has been revolutionary.  One thing that cannot be denied is the zeal of football enthusiasts. The stability of football in Nigeria has been constantly threatened by various factors. The leadership of the football federation as a result has witnessed management changes and transformation at different periods. The most recent of such transformation was the birth of the League Management Company in 2012. Its major purpose is for the organization and promotion of the league to meet global, technical and commercial standards. The franchise was granted following the near collapse of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) organized by the Nigeria Football League (NFL) which arose from devious administrative, contractual, legal and financial impediments. The LMC is owned by the NFF and the participating clubs. In truth, the role of the League Management Company (LMC) in managing the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) is to provide a national membership organisational structure for professional football through which the LMC can facilitate financial success, stability and development of professional football clubs, administer and regulate the professional game and promote the values and contribution of the professional game to our national life.

The LMC is absolutely committed to run the NPFL to its highest possible standards and with integrity. This duty they have tremendously tried to carry out since its inception. It came to me as an affront on the LMC and a totally regrettable act when a club in NPFL whom gravely disrespected the rules of the game and seemingly went unpunished.

On the 30th of April 2016 to be precise, I caught a Nigerian premier League between MFM FC .V. AKWA UTD on TV. It was an interesting match, I must confess. The stadium filled up to a reasonable extent and the fans doing their best to play their part as the 12th man like they always do in every match. While in the euphoria of the match and taking cognizance of the players performing the flicks and tricks, something very unusual caught my attention – a few players of the MFM TEAM were on the pitch without any form of identification on their jerseys be it their name or jersey number.                    

To say I was utterly confused was putting it mildly. My interest in the match waned just as my disappointment grew. I have always thought we had gone past the era of things like that happening on the pitch but I guess I was wrong or rather misinformed. I kept asking myself if it was allowed under the Rules for players to be on the pitch at the 20th minute of the game without HIS COMPLETE KIT; at least to my mind that was what it seemed like.it was even more laughable seeing a faint biro or marker attempt on jerseys done by whoever thought they were trying to salvage the situation. This happens only in friendlies and that was by no means a friendly match.

At this juncture, it became a matter of urgency that my confusion and bewilderment could only be cleared by looking into the pages of NPFL Framework and Rules 2015/2016 and also the FIFA Rules. A perusal of the NPFL Rules brought a few things to bare. Also in line with the FIFA Equipment Regulations, a few provisions proved to be similar all promoting the same cause.

SECTION B which deals with the commercial framework of the LMC provides for Players Identification.Section 9.7 particularly provides as thus;

            “When playing in League Matches each Player shall wear a shirt on the   back of which shall

            Be prominently displayed his shirt number and above that his surname”

The FIFA Equipment Regulations has a similar provision in line with players’ identification. Articles 6 & 7 provides for Numbers and Players names respectively.

Article 6 para 2 provides as thus;

            “A number must appear on the back (centered) and the front (not             necessarily centered) of

            Any short and on the front of any shorts used as playing equipment”.

This art 6 para 2 shall not apply to the numbering on the front of any short used as playing Equipment during Matches of the FIFA Club World Cup.

Article 6 para 3, partly states;

            “Based on the principle of light and dark contrast of used colors and         irrespective of the Prevailing conditions, such as weather and light, the     color used for any number appearing onPlaying equipment must be clearly             legible and distinguishable from a distance for all players Match officials,             Spectators and media from the Colors used for the respective Playing         Equipment Item...”

 

Article 6 para 7 further states thus;

            “Numbers appearing on playing Equipment shall be sewn on or affixed by          heat transfer or similar technique. The number shall be attached     permanently to the playing Equipment. No Number shall be attached with     Velcro or other temporary means”.

More so, Art 7 para 1 provides;

            “Players’ names must appear on the back of the short used as playing      Equipment for all Matches played in Final Competitions. Players’ names          may     appear on the back of the shirt used as Playing Equipment for all       matches           played in preliminary competitions and all Preliminary       Olympic matches.

            In the event that a player’s names appears on the back of the shirt             pursuant to     this art. 7 para 1,             the terms and conditions of art 7 para 2-7     below shall      apply.

Articles 7 para 3 just like article 6 para 3, has the same provisions but with a little modification.

A critical study of the NPFL Rules and FIFA Equipment Regulations show that they have the same element in common- PLAYERS IDENTIFICATION.  This is not unusual owing to the fact that Nigeria being a member of FIFA is inclined to adhering to the FIFA laws.

It should be noted that Para 12 of Art 9 of the NPFL Rules states as thus;

            “Any Club acting in breach of any of the Rules 9.1 t 9.11 of the rules will             be liable toPay to the League a fixed penalty of N100, 000.00 (One           Hundred Thousand Naira Only) for a first breach, N150,000.00 (One      Hundred and Fifty     Thousand Naira Only) for a second breachand       N200,000.00 ( Two Hundred Thousand Naira Only) for a third breach or,           as amended and published by the LMC from time to time. Any        subsequent      breach may be dealt with under the   provisions of Section C           of these             Rules (Disciplinary)”.

Being a first time offender, to the best of my knowledge MFM FC fall under the category of those liable to the first category.

It beats my imagination that no one is talking about it even the LMC. To the best of my understanding, no sanction has been metered on the defaulting Club. Regardless of the glaring breach, these little issues do not portray our league in a good light. I remember watching the match with my sibling and the instance he saw that mediocre attempt on the jerseys, he exclaimed “Nigerian Premier League” with a demeaning voice and he simply walked away. Persons like him may have given up on the League.

I lack the knowledge to say if any action has been taken against MFM FC as the match being is being talked about took place on the 30th of April, 2016 and at such may have become “statute barred” or “acquiesced”. This notwithstanding, the LMC is urged to take note of this and subsequent defaulters against the Rules which is the bedrock of the Nigerian Professional Football League. Just as they have sanctioned GIWA FC for failing to show up at different venues for matches and crowd violence, this issue should also be dealt with.

Chisom Enebe is a Lagos-based lawyer and sports analyst. She can be reached through somiekeyz@yahoo.com

Source Daily Sports

Posted June 18, 2016

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