Players of the Nigerian top-flight side deliberately kicked away their penalties during Ogun State’s FA Cup final.
Nigeria Professional Football League outfit Remo Stars have categorically denied any wrongdoing after numerous reports suggested that their match against Ijebu United on Thursday was fixed.
The encounter in question was the Ogun State FA Cup final and after both teams had played out a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes, next up were penalties to decide the winner.
During the ensuing kicks from the penalty mark, players of Remo purposely missed the target as Ijebu triumphed 3-0 to emerge as champions.
That penalty farce has since sent social media into a meltdown with many blaming Gbenga Ogunbote’s team for fixing the local derby.
Nonetheless, the club’s secretary Michael Onikute denies the claims while explaining to GOAL that the action of Remo Stars players was aimed to protest the poor officiating that was evident.
“Well, first on the allegations of match-fixing, this is totally false,” Onikute told GOAL.
“What I can deduce from the social media posts is that some individuals are trying to get much attraction by posting the [penalties] video with the word match-fixing – because they know it would alert the football world.
“You will also see that they never presented a concrete explanation about the game rather than match-fixing.
“That shows the level of unprofessionalism of such journalists involved in the propaganda.
“If indeed the match was fixed, we would not have streamed the game live on our social media channels.
“That being said, the game in question was not even credible enough to be on any sports betting platform and all team members are banned from taking part in any form of betting activities.”
Regardless, Remo Stars – who are also bidding for a place in the Caf Confederation Cup next season – will feature in the 2022 Aiteo Cup.
“We as a team were utmost disappointed with the level of organization, coordination and officiating of the games in the state cup,” he continued.
“Just before the end of the normal time, the match officials ended the match without the additional time and before the end of the 90th minute so the game could end in penalties.
“We opted not to play the penalties, but the Ogun State FA insisted we played, or risk being banned.”
Although Onikute agrees that Remo Stars could have protested through other means, albeit, he claims the NPFL side has no regret over their action because poor officiating has been a recurring decimal.
“We have been facing this challenge every year we play in the State FA Cup, and we felt we should make a statement against this,” he added.
“In fact, we have not reached the final in the last five years because of this same reason. Our decision may be weird, but I am sure the organizers now know our stand and they will do better next time.”
From GOAL AFRICA