The League Management Company (LMC) has said the management of Heartland FC risks a ban from the Nigeria Professional Football League, should they fail to honour contractual agreements with the players.
Players of the Imo State-based club announced they will embark on an indefinite strike early in the week over the failure of the club’s management to pay-up their sign-on fees.
The LMC equally advised the striking players to follow due process enshrined in the relevant sections of the league’s rule book in declaring industrial dispute.
The double-edged warning was issued at the end of the LMC’s three-day meeting in Abuja, where it condemned the club for failing to uphold contractual commitments to the players.
“The LMC takes the issue of players welfare very serious and we’re appealing to relevant authorities concerned in the reported Heartland case to act appropriately as reports such as strike by players undermines the values we’re building for the league,” said the LMC chief operating officer, Salihu Abubakar.
The LMC has said should the players’ strike lead to a boycott of the Week 36 trip to El Kanemi Warriors and the Week 37 tie against Enugu Rangers, the club will be expelled from the league in line with Article 4.2(3).
“We’ll apply the full weight of the sanctions stated in Article 4.2(3) and will go a step further to enlist the support of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to extend the sanction to a prohibition of teams from the state participating in any national football competitions at all levels,” he added.
Abubakar further reproved the players to comply with the necessary rules concerning non-payment of players’ salaries, bonuses and other entitlement by clubs managements.
The Heartland players are owed 90% of their sign-on fees for this season, 10% for last season and 10 outstanding match bonuses.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the LMC is not at this moment in receipt of any formal notification by Heartland players to their management as is required in the rules and we’ll therefore view the reported strike action as contravening our rules.
“Players who embark on strike contrary to the rules will be punished in line with the rules which are suspension from the league for two season and no club in the league or in any other league in the country will be permitted to hire them,” Abubakar explained.
According to supersport.com, the players have temporarily agreed to suspend the indefinite strike so as to pave way for binding negotiations.
Heartland are 15th on the 20-team elite league log on 46 points from 35 matches.