Basketball: Confusion Rocks DSTV League

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The DSTV-sponsored Nigerian Premier Basketball League for the 2011/2012 season has been thrown into confusion over the decision of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, to re-award the maximum points due to Union Bank Club of Lagos to their opponents, the Nigeria Customs Service.

The Bankers had defeated Customs 58-54 in the game played on 11 March in Lagos, but the Customs protested the inclusion of Union Bank’s coach Ayinla Oladipupo in the game.

The Customs alleged that Oladipupo, the former national team player played the match without a letter of clearance from his last professional club in England.

Union Bank Club of Lagos are now challenging the NBBF for awarding their points to their opponents without given them a fair hearing.

In a letter signed by the NBBF Secretary-General, Francis Gbiri, copies made available to newsmen, it was stated that the bio-data submitted by Union Bank on Oladipupo, was not properly completed.

The letter, addressed to the Team Manager/Secretary, Union Bank, and dated 30 March, 2012, stated further that “The most grievous wrongdoing is that Mr. Ayinla Oladipupo registered and played in the 2011/12 DStv Premier Basketball League without a Letter Of Clearance from the England Basketball Federation. This is depite the fact that he last played in the UK with the Kingston Wildcats Club.

Coach of Union Bank, Ayinla Oladipupo, told P.M.Sports that his club have already protested against the decision of the NBBF, adding that they would go to any length to get back their points.

He said: “We have actually received a letter informing us to forfeit our points we recorded against the Customs. And we have subsequently issued a letter to protest against the decision.

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“NBBF is trying to play funny. If someone protests against you, you have the right to respond to the protest. But we were not given a fair hearing at all,” the coach alleged.

Ayinla stressed that the NBBF’s rule is only meant for ‘players or coaches that have played abroad for the past one year, explaining that he last played in the United Kingdom about a decade ago.

He said: “We will get our points back and I still remain the Union Bank coach. Infact, I will be in charge of our next match against the Lagos Islanders on Saturday,” he said.

Meanwhile, the NBBF Secretary General, Francis Gbiri, while responding to the claims made by Coach Ayinla, told our reporter that the NBBF Disciplinary Committee’s decision to award the three points to Customs was based on the Article 13 of the body’s rules and regulation.

He advised Union Bank to go back and familiarise themselves with the rules of the game because the NBBF would not rescind its decision.

Gbiri, stated that the NBBF got a clearance from theUnited Kingdom Basketball Federation on behalf of coach Ayinla three days ago, claiming that he was a former player/coach with Kingston Wildcats Club some years back.

—Bamidele Olowosagba