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‘Pay or face sanctions’ – Heartland FC land in more trouble following 8.7m worth NPFL board order

Relegated Heartland FC have landed in further trouble following a ruling by the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) board in favor of their former player, Abugu Izuchukwu Michael. The club has been ordered to compensate Michael for wrongful termination of his contract and overdue payables.

The case began on March 19, 2024, when Abugu Izuchukwu Michael filed a complaint with the NPFL regarding unpaid salaries and wrongful contract termination by Heartland FC. Michael claimed the club had failed to meet its financial obligations to him, prompting the NPFL to request evidence from the club. However, Heartland FC did not respond to the NPFL’s information request.

After a thorough review of Michael’s complaint, his contract, and Heartland FC’s failure to comply with the NPFL’s requests, the league’s board made a decisive ruling in favor of the player. The NPFL’s decision includes the following directives:

  • Payment of Overdue Salaries: Heartland FC is mandated to pay Michael NGN800,000.00, representing his salaries for December 2023 and January 2024.
  • Payment of Accumulated Balances: Additionally, the club must pay Michael NGN300,000.00, covering accumulated balances from September, October, and November 2023, at NGN100,000.00 each month based on the NPFL’s salary structure.

The NPFL’s decision was made following a formal complaint lodged by Michael’s legal representative, Mr. Kenneth Eze of Greenfields Law. Despite being given an opportunity to defend the complaint, Heartland FC failed to respond, leading to the review and subsequent directive to pay a total sum of NGN8,700,000.00 to the player.

Heartland FC ordered by NPFL board to pay Abugu Izuchukwu Michael

Heartland ordered to pay Abugu Izuchukwu Michael

In response, Mr. Kenneth Eze praised the NPFL for safeguarding players’ contractual rights and financial entitlements. He emphasised the importance of consistent and stringent enforcement of decisions to uphold the league’s credibility and professional standards.

Implications for Heartland FC: This ruling deals a significant blow to Heartland FC, especially as the club is already grappling with on-field challenges after relegation from the Nigeria Premier Football League. The failure to address Michael’s complaints and comply with NPFL directives has not only resulted in financial penalties but also damaged the club’s reputation.

As of now, Heartland FC’s general manager has not commented on the decision or outlined the club’s plans to address the financial obligations set by the NPFL. The club now faces pressure to promptly meet these payments to avoid further sanction.

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