The board of the Nigeria National League on Thursday in Abuja said it has increased the sanctions it usually imposed on teams or their fans for assaulting match officials.
Emeka Inyama, chairman of the League, said at a press briefing that erring teams and their fans would henceforth be fined N1m, while the erring team would be banished.
“The board reached this decision at a meeting held on Wednesday following the realization that cases of assault on match officials have now become alarming,” he said.
The sanction placed on assault of match officials before now was a fine of N200, 000.
“With the increasing assault on match officials, the board resolved to amend a very critical part of the rules,” he said. “We have had about six assaults on match officials and what the rule said was a N200, 000 fine, but teams have been getting away with it.
“So, the board amended the rules and it will now place a N1m fine and further banish the team involved from its home ground.”
The NNL chairman said it was important to take stringent measures as the issue has resulted into referees boycotting the league because they do not want to be attacked.
“The Nigerian Referees Association has had cause to express its readiness to boycott national league matches because of the assault on their referees,” he said. “I have had to plead with the leadership to allow us to handle the matter.
When it happened in Jos and Ekiti, they wanted to withdraw all their referees from national league matches. So, we are appealing to the clubs and fans particularly. Clubs will be held responsible for the action of their fans.”
The chairman also urged match commissioners and referees to live up to expectations, so as to avoid cases of assault due to improper officiating.