By John Kayode
The 2022 Ondo State All-Stars football competition at the weekend marred with alleged match fixing ,which triggered protests among the participating teams and spectators at the state sports complex,Akure, as defending Champions, Ekimogun All-stars pulled out of the competition.
All Stars is an association of ex- footballers that have played the game to the highest level within and out side the country,which are supposed to serve as a role model to upcoming footballers.
Eight teams had registered and participated in the competition originally designed to serve as a reunion and reminiscence of old playing mates, but the organizers derailed along the line by threw the match open for the highest bidder by commercialising the tourney.
The protests started when the organisers bend one of the major rules of the competition for a particular team.
The rule stated that any player qualified to play in the tourney must be 40 years above ,but the organisers in their wisdom allowed a particular team to feed under 30 players in the competition.
One of the matches involving Afunbiowo All-Stars and Ondo State All-Stars had earlier been abandoned because of alleged pre – planned result.
Both sides were playing 1-1 draw, before a penalty was awarded to Afunbiowo All-Stars ,which triggered protests from the hosts and led the match to be abandoned.
Also, in another development, Ekimogun All- stars came behind schedule in one of their matches against Lawyers NBA All-star. According to the information in our disposal, Ekimogun All-stars said they called the organisers informing them what they were going through coming from Ondo to honour the match . But, organisers in their hasty decision gave Ekimogun All-stars a walkover.
After much protests from Ekimogun , the organisers reversed their decision and rescheduled the match for Monday October 1, at Ondo State Sports complex, Akure. Ekimogun All-stars again came for the rescheduled match but, Lawyers NBA All-star refused to honour the rescheduled match and stood their ground that their earlier walkover stand.
The organizers in their inconsistence and fear of the avalanche of petitions from Lawyers NBA All-star overruled themselves again and awarded a 3 points and one goal walk over against Ekimogun in favour of lawyers NBA All-star. In contrary to FIFA’s rules of 3 points 3 goals.
According to FIFA’s rule on walkover “If a team incurs a walkover they will be deducted three points and their opposition awarded a 3-0 victory. A team that incurs a walkover may be removed from any end of season knock out tournament. If a team fails to turn up to play a match on three occasions, they will be immediately withdrawn from the league”.
The organisers should tell the world where they get their own rule.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back, was the last match of the group A between NBA All Stars and Akure Veterans which spectators at the stands described as the worst thing to happen in the competition.
They were not smart enough to hide the shenanigans of the pre-planned match, it was too obvious to the blind that it was an arranged game, the host lost three zero in the game, which sent the Lawyers NBA All-star to the top of the group A .
Disturbed by the shameful act, the defending Champions, Ekimogun All-stars and favourite to defend their title, through the Chairman Ondo West Football Association (FA), Bobola Akinfolarin announced their withdrawal from the competition.
According to him “without sounding immodest, on behalf of Ekimogun All stars, we want to show our grievance in this year’s All Stars competition, on this note , we are using this medium to inform the organisers and all the Excos of Akure All- Stars that we are pulling out of this competition.”
The president of Ekimogun All-stars, Mayowa Akinwande said they will never be part of any shameful act.
“We have our own integrity to protect”,he said.
One of the fans who craved anonymity said the match was rubbish from the pit of hell, saying they didn’t not hide their shameful act of pre planned results.
He said:”with what I’m seeing here, there is no future for football in Ondo, majority of people involved in this competition were people we once watched on the television, they are supposed to be veterans that young players should look up to. I must confess ,I’m disappointed with their display, how much are they going to give them? In a sane societies they are supposed to be arrested and barred from football activities.”