Sunshine Stars face stiff punishment from the League Management Company after their fans allegedly attacked match officials following Sunday’s 0-0 home draw in the Nigeria Professional Football League against Kano Pillars at the Akure Sports Complex.
The Owena Waves were frustrated by the visitors in the encounter who put up a disciplined performance in the game to continue their push for the title.
It was the first time Sunshine Stars have failed to record a win at home in the Nigeria Professional Football League this season.
Referee Damian Akure and his assistants Emmanuel Apine and Lewis Gwantana were allegedly attacked after full-time by Akure fans unhappy with the match officials’ performance in the match.
The Akure club have been heavily fined and sanctioned by the LMC in recent seasons due to the unruly behaviour of their fans at the Akure Sports Complex.
They were banished to the Otunba Dipo Stadium, Ijebu ode last season over crowd violence and only returned to the Akure Sports Complex this season.
A top official of Kano Pillars who spoke to newsmen on the condition of anonymity confirmed the incident and called for stiff sanctions against their hosts.
“The action of the fans was barbaric and I think it is time the LMC should do something to wipe out this devilish behaviour of some of the fans,” the official said.
“To attack match officials because your team didn’t win at home is not ideal. We don’t want violence in the game and only stiff punishment can stop the fans from this violent act.”
Sunshine Stars media officer, Chris Okunnuwa, however debunked the allegation, stating an object thrown from the stands by a fan hit the affected official in the face.
“Honestly the referees were not attacked or assaulted physically, there was no way that would have happened due to the heavy security presence on ground at the stadium,” Okunnuwa wrote in statement he released after the game.
“I can confirm a water object was thrown from the crowd towards the officials on their way to the dressing room after the game and that could have caught the injured official. I know the club won’t shy away from taken responsibility for this.
“It’s a shame things happened the way it did but in truth the referees were not not assaulted save for the object thrown by a spectator in the crowd and the last time I checked, serious efforts were already on to fish out the perpetrator and bring him to book.
“I am saying this with all level of assurance and certainty no one will attack referee(s) this season in Akure with the measures on ground and the fans education.”