Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side Heartland FC have been banned from transferring players by the League Management Company (LMC), reports www.aclsports.com
The sentence is subject to compliance to a ruling by the league body on separate complaints of unlawful termination of contract and indebtedness filed by two former players of the club; attacker Maduabuchi Okereke and goalkeeper Oluwasegun Fatunwase.
Maduabuchi (L) and Fatunwase had in separate petitions to the LMC dated November 5, 2019, bordering on claims of overdue payables, wrongful termination of contract and compensation.
While Maduabuchi laid claims for a total of 10.4m Nigerian naira, Fatunwase asked for a total of 6.25m nairas.
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In its ruling communicated to Heartland FC on February 17, 2020, the LMC noted that the club failed to respond to the claims of the players despite having been invited by the LMC to state its case through a letter dated January 28, 2020.
The LMC ruled that the improper release or clearance letter issued by the Club strengthened the Players’ claims of wrongful termination; and noted that “as a result of the failure of the Club to respond to the allegations, we are constrained to determine the case on the strength of the available evidence”.
Heartland FC were ordered to pay Maduabuchi the sums of 7.2m Nigerian nairas, representing the remaining two years of his three year contract and another 900,000 nairas unpaid arrears of three months consolidated salary stipulated in the contract before it was wrongfully terminated by the club.
Fatunwase was awarded 4.8m nairas, 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.
The LMC further stated that should Heartland be found not to have paid these sums by the expiration of the ban, “the matter shall be duly reviewed”.
Heartland are currently in 8th position on the NPFL log and will face the former side of head coach Fidelis Ilechukwu; MFM FC in their Match Day 21 game in Lagos on Sunday.