Football: Top Nigeria official banned for corruption

Football: Top Nigeria official banned for corruption
Nigeria's supporters celebrate their qualification for the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil after winning the second leg qualifying football match between Nigeria and Ethiopia in Calabar in November 16, 2013.

ABUJA - A senior Nigerian football official has been banned for 10 years for corruption, the country's football federation announced late Monday.

A Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) emergency committee handed Leye Adepoju the sanction excluding him from all football-related activities following an investigation.

Adepoju was a member of the NFF executive committee and also the chairman of the football association in Oyo state, southwest Nigeria.

He was alleged to have received a cash payment of 1.5 million naira (S$11,758) before a disciplinary hearing against Shooting Stars, from the Oyo state capital Ibadan, after they abandoned a league match against Sunshine Stars earlier this year.

He was said to have received money to find in favour of Shooting Stars after their players refused to take the field in the second half when the score was 0-0, claiming that one of their officials had been attacked.

Shooting Stars were fighting relegation at the time. A subsequent hearing awarded Sunshine Stars the three points from the match.

The NFF also banned another senior official for 10 years for claiming he was attacked in the game and also referred to police an allegation that the chairman of Enugu State Football Association was an imposter.

Chidi Ofo Okenwa was told to step down from his role pending the outcome of the police probe.

Match fixing and corruption is a problem in Nigerian football and has led to sanctions against a number of clubs, referees and officials.

Four clubs were suspended earlier this year after two teams vying for promotion won 67-0 and 79-0 respectively with the NFF calling it a "scandal of huge proportions".

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