Rivers United Football Club seem ready for a long drawn battle with the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF) as the Nigeria Professional Football League top side remain adamant over an order to apologise to the Federation.
A 48 hours deadline issued by NFF to the club expired on Sunday without any response from the Rivers United.
The order to apologize without reservation, according the federation, is sequel to the Rivers United Football Club’s press release with regards to how the nation’s football governing body drew up the final table of the 2019/2020 NPFL season after the league was aborted due to COVID-19 outbreak.
In the final table of the past season, Rivers United FC were placed 3rd despite having equal number of points but had superior goal difference against 2nd placed club, Enyimba FC of Aba.
By the placement, Enyimba were handed CAF Champions League slot while Rivers United were handed CAF Confederation Cup.
A move the Port Harcourt based side repudiated via a press statement after the final table was made public on Monday by the NFF Football Committee.
Rivers United consequently rejected the final table insisting that it deserved to be second based on the application of the rule of goal difference as against head-to-head rule which NFF and LMC adopted.
Sequel to this, the NFF in a two-page letter dated August 27, ordered the Rivers United Football Club to within 20 hours tender an apology failure of which it will be meted with disciplinary actions.
The letter signed by the General Secretary of the NFF, Dr Mohammed Sanusi demanded an unreserved apology for disparaging publication against the Federation by deliberate distortion of facts and obvious misinformation” from within Rivers United Football Club; with allegations that the club is “being denied their rights owing to attempts by some people to deliberately shortchange the club” in what is described as “a clear case of injustice and undue victimization.”
The letter further frowned at a comment made by the club which the federation founds to be also disparaging of the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Chairman of the League Management Company Ltd. (LMC); for instance, the insinuation regarding a trip by the President of the NFF to Abia State, as well as the statement that the President of the NFF and the Chairman of the LMC and their co-travellers “are taking football in Nigeria fifty (50) years behind.”
Citing codes of conduct of the federation the club is alleged to have breached, the letter noted “Furthermore, the Code of Conduct for Club officials under the NPFL Framework Rule E 1.6 clearly stipulates that club officials shall “Not use inappropriate language during or after match conferences or at media briefings
“Fundamentally, this action by Rivers United is clearly a breach of the stipulations of the NFF Code Of Ethics and the NFF Statutes 2010 with regards to the responsibilities and obligations of a member Of the NFF.
“You are therefore advised to publicly repudiate and/or withdraw the disparaging statements and tender a public apology within 48 hours, upon the failure of which appropriate disciplinary actions would be taken against Rivers United Football Club within the necessary provisions of the NFF Statutes 2010, The NFF Ethics Code and indeed the NPFL Framework and Rules.
However, the management of Rivers United are not moved by NFF’s threat and appears ready for the consequences of their position on the matter.