By Emmanuel Afonne
Heartland Football Club of Owerri have been relegated to the Nigeria National League (NNL) following Thursday’s decisions by the League Management Company (LMC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Heartland and Plateau United FC faced each other on Sunday in Jos, in their last match of the season but the encounter was later abandoned by the teams.
The match was abandoned after the centre referee disallowed a goal by Heartland with about 25 minutes to the end of the encounter which would have given them a 2-1 lead.
Heartland fondly called Naze Millionaires were battling to avoid been relegated as the club had never been relegated from the elite league since its inception in 1976.
Rising from its meeting on Thursday after reviewing the match, the LMC said Heartland would forfeit three points thus losing the match to Plateau United.
The LMC also fined Heartland N3 million for abandoning the match in Jos.
The development had now placed Heartland on 18th place on the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) table with 44 points from 36 matches.
“The League Management Company following a review of reports and video of the match issued separate Summary Jurisdiction Notices to the clubs.
“In the case against Heartland, the LMC charged the club for breach of B13.26 for failing to continue with the match. The team is also fined N3 million and will forfeit three points and three goals to Plateau United,’’ a statement from the LMC said.
The LMC also fined Plateau United N1 million after their supporters were cited in the video evidence throwing objects onto the field of play which led to the delay of the match in the start of the second half.
This, the LMC considered a breach of Rule B13.18.
“For the breach, the LMC fined Plateau United N1 million and both clubs have 48 hours to submit to the ruling or elect representatives to appear before the commission if they are not satisfied with the decision,’’ the statement added.
Heartland have won the elite league title four times and have also won the FA Cup thrice.
They have also won the Super Cup twice.