Four-time Nigerian champions and 2009 CAF champions league finalists Heartland were on Thursday relegated from the Premier League by the League Management Company.
They were one of two teams in the top flight that had never been relegated.
The LMC, in a statement, also fined the Owerri-based club N3m after they abandoned their fixture against Plateau United on Sunday in Jos.
By that their last league match against Plateua which was abandoned in the 75th minute after their second goal was disallowed when they were tied at 1-1 was awarded to the latter .Plateua were also fined I million Nairas.In that match a win for Heartland would have seen MFM who defeated Ifeanyi Ubah 1-0 drop to the second tier .
The statement said, “The LMC following a review of reports and video of the match issued separate Summary Jurisdiction Notices to the clubs.
“In the case against Heartland, the LMC charged the club for breach of B13.26, in that they failed to continue with a match. It also officially confirms the relegation of the club, which also has the option of appearing before a commission within 48 hours.
“In the charge against Plateau United, their supporters were seen throwing objects onto the field, which led to delay in the start of the second half, an act considered a breach of Rule B13.18. For the breach, the LMC fined Plateau N1m and the club has 48 hours to submit to the ruling or elect to appear before a commission.”
But spokesman for Heartland, Cajetan Nkwopara, said the club were yet to be contacted by the LMC .
“We haven’t received any such letter; when we do, we will know the next step to take,” he said.
MFM chairman, Godwin Enakhena, said the Olukoya Boys were never worried about their safety in the topflight, after Heartland abandoned their game in Jos. He is optimistic the LMC position will remain the same, even if Heartland appeals, adding that they were already preparing for next season.
Heartland’s drop to the lower division comes as a big blow to fans of the Naze Millionaires, who were league champions in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1993. They won the Federation Cup thrice in 1988, 2011, and 2012 as well as two Super Cup titles in 2011 and 2012
Heartland fans have criticized the Imo State Government for the predicament .
The League Management Company on Thursday confirmed Heartland’s relegation. They can however appeal the decision