Dolphins remain disqualified from the Caf Confederation Cup and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are fined £1,358 (N398,100) for failing to comply with statutory requirement in the event of the Glo Premier League club’s ‘walkover’ in Tunis.
Delegations of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side were absent at the Nov 5 stadium in Rades at kick-off time for last weekend’s round of 32 first-leg tie with Tunisia’s Club Africain.
Ethiopian referee Haileyesus Bazezwew Bellete awarded a 3-0 victory to the hosts and declared Dolphins losers by “forfeit.”
“Dolphins are thus eliminated without prejudice to other financial sanctions that could be taken by the committee,” a Caf statement dated Thursday, 19 March read.
“Dolphins did not show up at Rades Stadium (Tunisia) on Saturday, 14 March 2015 at 3pm local time, for the kick-off of the match against Club Africain of Tunisia, for the 1/16th round first leg of the Confederation Cup. The referee acknowledged forfeiture of Dolphins.”
Caf said Dolphins only notified the governing body that they missed their flight from Port-Harcourt last Friday, but did not request for postponement of the game- though it went on to inform the home team to “delay the kick-off of the match by 30 minutes for the sake of fairplay”.
They missed their flight as a result of cash row between players and management of the club. The players reportedly held out for an extra match bonus before agreeing to embark on the trip to North Africa, at whose time they had expended not less than five hours in negotiations.
Caf also attributed blame to the NFF for not informing the host federation and Caf of the date of arrival of the visiting team in the capital of the host country at least two weeks prior to the date of the match.
“The non-observance of this disposition attracts a fine of $2000,” says Caf.
It added: “If for any reason whatsoever, a team withdraws from the competition or does not report for a match-except in case of force majeure accepted by the Organizing Committee – or if it refuses to play or leaves the ground before the regular end of the match without the permission of the referee, it shall be considered loser and shall be eliminated from the competition.”
Caf had ordered the Nigerian club to remain in Tunis until it has reached a decision, but that has not favoured the traveling contingents as it stand.
Meanwhile, the League Management Company (LMC) has already postponed a Match Day 3 league encounter between Dolphins FC’s and fellow Confederation Cup representatives Warri Wolves until further notice.