The League Management Company (LMC) has appealed the Plateau State High Court’s order asking it to reinstate Giwa FC to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The spokesman of LMC, Harry Iwuala, said in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos that the company was asking the Court of Appeal to set aside the interim order of the Plateau State High Court.
It said that the appeal was filled by its counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), on several grounds of law and challenging the jurisdiction of the lower court to have granted the orders.
“It will be recalled that the order was made by the lower court in the suit filed by one Mustapha Abubakar, who claims to be suing for himself and Giwa FC.
“It asked the court to direct LMC to restore Giwa FC to the NPFL and reschedule all the club’s matches among other prayers.
“But a new twist to the suit emerged when Giwa FC wrote to LMC to categorically dissociate itself from the suit filed by the said Mustapha Abubakar.
“In its letter to LMC, dated Aug. 22, Giwa FC stated that it is not a party to the suit and has not instructed anybody to file a case on its behalf.
“It therefore, distanced itself from the case entirely,’’ the statement said.
The statement said that Giwa FC’s disavowal of the suit is in compliance with the written undertaking by all the clubs in the NPFL which was individually signed.
“It gave to LMC agreeing not to take any matter concerning NPFL to the ordinary courts, but rather to be subject to and be bound by the internal dispute resolution processes of NPFL.
“It also includes football governance, generally. This undertaken is one of the critical conditions demanded of any club or persons applying to participate in football activities globally.
“The LMC gave five grounds for the appeal which included lack of jurisdiction by the Jos High Court to hear the matter.
“The LMC and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) reside in Abuja and that the acts complained about which is the hearings and expulsion of Giwa FC also took place in Abuja,’’ it said.
The LMC also clarified that a second ground of appeal filed by its counsel was that the Jos High Court judge who granted the order was only entitled to hear cases of urgency.
“There must be an affidavit of urgency filed with the papers to show the facts of such urgency before the court can hear the matter.
“The LMC contended that there was no such affidavit of urgency and therefore, it is wrong for the court to have heard the matter and granted orders as it did.
“The LMC averred in the appeal that it is also wrong of the judge to have heard the case as a fundamental human rights case since Giwa FC is a Limited Liability Company.
“The owner and operator of the football club and the football club itself cannot have fundamental human rights,’’ the statement said.
It added that the law was settled in Nigerian states that only individuals and not corporate persons can have fundamental human rights.
“At this point, additionally, it goes to the lack of jurisdiction of the court to hear the case”, the LMC stated in the appeal papers.
“The body also argued in the appeal that in law; only a company can sue for itself for wrongs allegedly done to the company.
“Any person suing on behalf of a company must have the resolution of the company authorising that person to do so. This condition has not been fulfilled in this case.’’
The LMC said that Giwa FC’s letter buttressed its position from the beginning that the said Mustapha Abubakar is an interloper.
“The person in question has no dealings or connection whatsoever with LMC or the subject matter of Giwa FC’s expulsion from NPFL.
“A decision which was reached with strict compliance with due process and the relevant provisions of the Framework and Rules of NPFL 2015/2016 Season,’’ the statement said.
The LMC said it would continue to explore all legal processes available to have this vexatious and frivolous suit thrown out of the judicial system.