Nigeria’s domestic championship’s governing body, League Management Company (LMC) has banned Kano Pillars skipper, Rabiu Ali for 12 games and slammed N8m fine on the club.
The sanctions come after Ali (aka Pele) attacked the match referee in his team’s 1-1 draw with Rangers International of Enugu in the NPFL Super-6 Championship Playoffs, which led to riotous scenes from the club’s fans at Agege Stadium, Lagos.
The 32-year-old attacker midfielder, who is a former home-based Eagles’ regular, had always been known to be gentle before now, but he blew his top recklessly by repeatedly confronting the ref on Monday, alleging a gang-up against his side at The Soccer Temple.
That came after Ali opened the score for Sai Masu Gida with a free-kick, but The Flying Antelope drew level after they were awarded a penalty in the dying moments of the contest and Godwin Aguda converted it.
Ali, who incidentally is Pillars’ captain openly confronted the referee after the final whistle, even after his teammates tried to stop, as he alleged that the spot award was fishy.
While also opining that the match arbiter ended the game before time, Ali allowed his tempter boil over, all of which instigated irate fans of the northern Nigeria side and they invaded the pitch with planks.
Though the City of Groundnut Pyramids’ club sued for pardon, arguing that Ali had always been a disciplined player in his long and illustrious career, the LMC did the needful by coming down hard on him.
Pillars too wee not spared LMC’s hammer, as the sanctioning body also hit the club with an N8m fine and told to play three home games of next season behind closed doors, plus suspended three points deduction.