‘Match abandonment, unruly behaviour’: NWFL’s hammer descends on Royal Queens, general manager suspended 

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The Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) has slammed N1 million fine on Royal Queens moment after the Delta-based club abandoned their match against Naija Ratels on Wednesday March 22, 2023 at Old Parade ground Abuja.

It was gathered that the matchday 10 of the ongoing football season was abandoned by the visitors after centre referee awarded a penalty when proceedings remain 1-1 at 78th minute of play.

Three points were also deducted by NWFL from the club privately owned with its base at oil rich town of Warri.

The decisions by the women league management was contained in a Letter dated March 22 which according officials have been communicated to the club hierarchy.

Part of the letter reads, “The Nigeria Women Football League is in receipt of Match official reports for Match No. 57 between Naija Ratels FC and Royal Queens FC played on 22nd March, 2023 at the Old Parade Ground Pitch, Abuja. It was contained in the report that Royal Queens FC failed to continue with the aforementioned match after the centre referee awarded a penalty kick against Royal Queens FC at the 78th minutes of play. 

“This action from your club has contravened the following article: Articles 14.8 states that Any club that refuses to continue with a game for a period up to five (5) minutes in a match or till the expiration of full time of either half of the game or walks-off the pitch in any form of protest against a decision of the referee or otherwise shall be liable to a fine of up to N1,000,000.00 (One Million Naira only); in addition, the Club shall forfeit the match to its opponent by 3 points, 3 goals.”

NWFL also declared that the General Manager of Royal Queens FC, Mr. Atare Azigbo, has been suspended “with immediate effect from all NWFL activities till the end of the 2022/2023 season for unruly behaviour.”

During the match, eyewitness revealed that the club’s general manager took laws into his hands and hauled abuses at the referees which eventually earned him a red card and dismissal from the pitch area.

His continued outburst outside the pitch eventually instigated his players and other officials of the club to join in hauling insults at referees and security operatives. 

Shocked by their obnoxious display, respected football administrator and proprietor of City FC, a Nigeria National League (NNL) club, Mr. Chidi Emmanuel Okonkwo, who watched the match from beginning said, “I’ve never seen this kind of football before where players and officials will be out of control, in a highly unprofessional manner.

“I don’t expect that kind of attitude from a professional like that of the club’s general manager as somebody who is leading young girls children. His attitude is not something children should learn from anybody…

“He did something that is very wrong, he was given a red card… imagine a leader of team’s delegation instructing his coaches to start fighting the police officers. 

“People should not take laws into their hands. This is football with rules and regulations from FIFA. If you as a leader you are behaving very unruly, how do you expect the players to behave?

“I was very disappointed to the extent that one of the club officials slapped a police officer on uniform. Like I said I’ve never seen such thing in my life before, you can’t behave that way.”

In line with article 14.8 of the NWFL, the match was later awarded to Naija Ratels with three points and three goals.

A look at the league table shows that Naija Ratels in group A are in top three with 13 point, while Royal Queens are stocked within bottom area with eight points.

Efforts to get the reaction of the Royal Queens proprietor Dr. Sifo Omatsola wasn’t successfully, as he declined comments and assured that his club will soon issue a statement.

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