Heartland Football Club of Owerri are in a precarious position as they risk being banned from participating in the soon to take off Nigeria Premier League 2019/ 2020 season. The ban dangling on Heartland’s head is traced to the overbearing interferences of the club’s board headed by the PDP chairman in the state that wants to usurp the management’s functions.
The Imo State PDP chairman and his board have defied all entreaties from informed and statutory organizations calling on them to desist from distracting the management’s plans and programs for the club. For instance, the permanent secretary of sports, upon sensing danger in view of the board’s meddlesomeness, called a meeting between the board and the management in order to resolve the issues on ground, but the former never showed up for sitting.
The foregoing has really dragged the management backward even as other clubs have reached advanced stages of preparations for next season while the board weighs Heartland down even threatened with a ban.
Alarmed by the unprofessional bearing of the PDP chairman’s led board, the leadership of the Imo State Football Association had sent a letter to the LMC, detailing the Premier League organizing body of the unbecoming conduct of the board, and urging it (LMC) to call the yet to be inaugurated board to order.
Revelations from the team’s camp in Owerri indicated that the board which, according to the guidelines provided by the League Management Company (LMC), ought to play two functions of advisory and oversight roles, was hell bent on assuming the day to day management’ of the club.
Investigations conducted by this newspaper revealed that the board, contrary to its advisory and oversight duties, wanted to interview and higher coaches, contract players, employ management workers and rent offices for the club as well as the board itself. It was also gathered that the board also wanted to repair Heartland’s damaged vehicles. The most worrisome is that some members of the interim board are already allegedly involved in scams as they are said to have illegally collected half a million naira from a coach with a promise of bringing him to team if eventually they succeed in muzzling the management. The allegation involves associates of some board members who do not know anything about football management.
The league organizing body, LMC, has made it apparently clear that it frowned at the involvement of exposed and established politicians and their activities in the management or supervision of club affairs. The regulatory agency therefore made it clear that any club that permitted the involvement of recognizable politicians in its affairs would be visited with the full weight of the law as stipulated in the rules and regulations of LMC.
It will be recalled that not just LMC, but all of national, continental and global football governorning bodies, including NFF, CAF and FIFA abhor politicians meddling into football matters. They usually respond with ban on such clubs or national association.