President of FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, has reiterated his unflinching passion and commitment to the development of football in the country. According to him, this was irrespective of the verdict of the LMC on him, arising from a recent incident after an NPFL match between his club and Heartland of Owerri in Nnewi.
The business mogul, who insisted he would not appeal the decision of the LMC, however, observed that he was not given the benefit of fair hearing before a guilty verdict was passed on him.
“I have accepted to put the issue behind me. However, it is pertinent to observe that I was neither summoned nor given the opportunity by the LMC to either defend or respond to the allegations leveled on me before a verdict was reached and pronounced by the LMC. Also other sanctioned parties were denied their right to fair hearing.
He advised the LMC board to endevour to accord parties’ right to fair hearing in its disciplinary procedures to encourage mutual respect and trust.
“It is a constitutionally guaranteed right to give fair hearing to all parties before decisions are reached and pronounced. “The evidence upon which the LMC arrived at its findings and verdict does not entirely reflect what transpired on the field of play during the incident. If I had an opportunity, I would have given the LMC more insight and facts of the matter. Be that as it may, I have taken their decisions in the true spirit of sportsmanship and commitment to the future of Nigerian football.”
He said: “Contrary to the impression the incident may have created; I remain one of the biggest supporters of Nigerian football, which has earned me massive recognition by the Nigeria Football Federation, as I was conferred with the Ambassador of Nigerian Football award by the Alhaji Maigari led NFF five years ago, I couldn’t have willfully done anything to bring the game to disrepute.
Ubah, who resents the manhandling of match officials by fans said: “I wish also to advice that the LMC do everything legally possible to protect referees and other match officials at match venues. It is most unfortunate that my intervention which was erroneously misrepresented was to avert the impending melee which perhaps would have resulted in ugly end. I remain grateful to God for averting the impending bloodshed.
He sympathized with the referee and other match officials, who were assaulted during the incident, and pleaded with the LMC to review security measures at match venues across the country to guarantee the safety and protection of match officials.
“My heart goes out to the match officials who were assaulted on our home ground. I feel sad that no mention was made about the pains they suffered during the incident. I think they deserve our sympathy. I pray that measures will be taken by the LMC to protect the referees and other match officials at match venues. Continuing he said: “The player in question is someone I share very strong tie with his family, especially his younger brother. I refrain from getting into any form of dispute with him or his family. He further said: “I hope the lessons of the incidents help us to build a stronger football culture in the country.”