Following representations by the Management of Heartland FC providing proof of approval of payment of salaries of the players and other staff by the Imo State government, the club has been granted a further extension of deadline to comply with the decision of the League Management Company (LMC).
In a letter dated 28th January, the club requested additional ten working days to enable it perfect the payment of salaries overdue.
Consequently, the LMC ruled that Heartland FC has been giving up to close of business of February 18th, 2022 to complete all the processes and clear all the outstanding overdue payables to the players and officials and submit evidence to the LMC.
LMC warned the club that a breach of this condition will result in six points being automatically deducted from points already earned by the Club and matches of Heartland FC will be automatically suspended within the framework of the NPFL.
The club was further told that it would be automatically relegated to the Nigeria National League (NNL) should it miss three consecutive matches and all the players granted special authorization to move to other Clubs. “Heartland will also not be allowed to participate in the NNL until these overdue payables are fully settled”, the LMC stated in its response.
The letter went on to say, “We have reviewed your request and subsequent events as you reported to LMC from 28th January 2022 to date. We have further noted your verbal confirmation to LMC that the Government of IMO State have approved the payment of all the outstanding Overdue Payables to the players and officials of Heartland FC and you are making effort to ensure payments are effected immediately.
The LMC said it’s decision to take the punitive measures has been informed by repeated breaches by the club, noting that “the issue of overdue payables by Heartland FC has been a recurring event spanning several administrations of IMO State Government (the owners of the club), which implies repeated breach by Heartland contrary to the NPFL Framework and Regulations.”
Heartland were also given up to March 31, 2022 to provide the LMC with credible and satisfactory evidence that it has taken all necessary steps to ensure that future salaries of the players and employees are settled as at when due.
On this second condition, the LMC demanded that “Specifically, you should move the club wage bill to be paid directly by your Government as a first line charge as agreed with the LMC prior to the commencement of 2022 NPFL Season. Alternatively, Heartland FC must provide the LMC with a Bank guarantee of not less than N100m (One Hundred Million Naira Only) to Guarantee the payment of the players and officials’ salaries in case of any default.
“This is a condition for Heartland FC continued participation in the NPFL and failure to meet up with this condition would result to automatic suspension of all Heartland matches. Should Heartland, thereafter miss three consecutive matches, the Club will be automatically relegated to the NNL and all your players granted special authorization to move to other Clubs. Heartland will also not be allowed to participate in the NNL until all overdue payables are fully settled.”