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Drama unfolds as Kwara United drags NFF to CAS over baffling decision

NFF panel ejected Kwara United from CAF Confederation Cup

One week after the conclusion of the 2020/21 NPFL season, some of the clubs are still embroiled in a saga over the decision of the NFF to overrule the League Management Committee (LMC) in favour of Rivers United and to the detriment of Kwara United.

The issue started with a yellow card for Jigawa Golden Stars midfielder Christopher Richard in their Matchday 33 encounter, rendering the midfielder suspended for the next match against Rivers United. The LMC allegedly sent a memo to the club informing them of the situation, but the player was named in the starting XI on Matchday 34 against Rivers United, a match Jigawa Golden Stars won 2-1. The matter was tabled before the LMC, and they accepted the blame for the problem, stating that they had indeed sent the memo to a wrong email ahead of the match, and the result should stand. The decision was accepted by the clubs involved, and the matter was laid to rest.

Halfway through the last round of matches of the season, however, the NFF Appeals Committee swung into action. With Rivers United 1-0 down away to Sunshine Stars, an announcement was made that the decision of the LMC was flawed and had been overruled, and the Matchday 34 fixture was awarded to Rivers United by a 3-0 margin. When the change came into effect, it moved a Rivers United side that finished in sixth place up to second in the league above Enyimba, Kwara United, Nasarawa United and Kano Pillars, ensuring that the Rivers-based club qualified for the CAF Champions League instead of Enyimba. Enyimba qualified for the Confederation Cup ahead of Kwara United, who now finished the season in fourth place.

An appeal was raised immediately by Kwara United to the NFF Committee, but the committee quashed the appeal. Kwara United chairman Kumbi Titiloye stated that the Chairman of the committee, Eddy Mark was an employee of the Rivers State government, and his judgement was biased. The Kwara-based club has now dragged the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport ahead of the commencement of the CAF Confederation Cup.

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