Publish date: 2022-06-21 00:06:01 | Author: Agency Report | Source: punchng.com
Heartland FC of Owerri, sponsored by the Imo State Government, scrapped through last season to avoid relegation and have struggled all through the ongoing season as well, stuck in the bottom four on the log.
According to a report by npfl.ng, investigations revealed that the club has not received any financial support from the state government led by Governor Hope Uzodinma, who is reportedly yet to attend any of the club’s fixtures home or away.
The players have on several occasions protested the non-payment of their salaries by threatening to boycott matches.
Matters came to a head when they were locked out of their hotel camp due to a backlog of debts they owed the hotelier.
Dan Chike Ogu, the state Commissioner for Sports declined comments on the plight of the club, but a source claimed the ministry had made efforts to have subvention for the club released.
“You don’t expect him to use his personal money to run the club when the Governor is not releasing funds for that purpose,” the source said in defence of Ogu.
The club’s match-day 34 fixture against Katsina United was allegedly almost aborted as the Imo State Football Association refused to open their offices for the regular pre-match conference.
They reportedly told the Match Commissioner, Bayo Olomodosi, that the match could only hold if they got refund of previous money loaned the club for organising home matches.
“We provided money for the logistics of previous home matches and have not been reimbursed. We don’t have money for this match,” a state FA official told the match commissioner on Saturday.
The match eventually held and Heartland won 1-0 to stay 18th on the log.
Promise Nwachukwu, the Club General Manager, refused to speak on the crisis, stating that it remained an internal issue of the club.
But a staunch supporter of the club, Chima Nwaneri, said it would be unfortunate if the club were relegated.
“It is a shame that Governor Uzodinma is not showing any interest in the club. It is not yet late to rescue Heartland and it is in the hands of the Governor.”