By Amaechi Agbo
The crisis rocking Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL side, Heartland FC of Owerri has taking a nose dive after the League Management Company wrote the club to remind the management of existing FIFA ruling on registering of new players for the 2020/2021 season.
In a letter signed by the LMC Chief Operating Officer, COO, Salifu Abubakar and sent to the Heartland management and made available to our correspondent in which all clubs in the league were copied, LMC made it clear that in view of the existing ban, the club cannot sign or register a new player for the current season.
The league organisers warned that violation of the ban would attract severe sanctions
“We refer to previous correspondence in respect of the above, including in particular, the decision of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber dated 19, February 2020, as a result of which Heartland Football Club is currently banned from registering new players,
“We would like to reiterate that the implication of the above ts that Heartland Football Club is not eligible or permitted to register or feature any new player(s) in Its squad for the ongoing 2020/2021 season.
“This ban is to be enforced strictly, failing which appropriate sanctions will be meted out.
“Relevant stakeholders are by this notice advised to take note and enforce accordingly.
“The above is for your information and strict compliance, please,” the letter read.
Heartland have been embroiled in leadership crisis over the couple of years with the situation affecting their current league campaign. The team led by renowned coach Felix Ilechukwu is yet to pick a point in the current 2021 season if they lost their first two matches including a 2-1 home defeat in the hands of Nasarawa United on Sunday.
It could be recalled that Heartland FC of Owerri were banned from signing new players for the next two registration seasons in 2019 until it complies with a ruling of the League Management Company (LMC) in separate complaints of unlawful termination of contract and indebtedness filed by two former players of the club, Maduabuchi Okereke and Fatuwanse Alfred Olusegun.
Maduabuchi and Fatuwase had in separate petitions to the LMC dated November 5, 2019, complained about unpaid dues, wrongful termination of contract and compensation. While Maduabuchi claimed a total of N10.400, 000, Fatuwase asked for a total of N6, 250,000.
Heartland FC was ordered to pay Maduabuchi the sums of N7, 200,000 representing the remaining two years of his three-year contract and another N900, 000 unpaid arrears of three months consolidated salary stipulated in the contract before it was wrongfully terminated by the club.
Fatuwanse was awarded N4, 800, 000 representing the remaining two years of his three-year contract and another N600, 000 unpaid arrears of three months consolidated salary as stipulated in the contract before it was wrongfully terminated by the club.