Faith Irabor, chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation Referees’ Committee, has assured The PUNCH that the body will continue to keep the men in the middle on their toes in order to rid Nigerian football of bad officiating.
This follows the suspension of three officials by the NFF Referees’ Committee for questionable decisions in their games.
The body summoned two officials over incidents of poor officiating in the games between 3SC and Kwara United on matchday two, as well as the centre referee of the game between Rivers United and Niger Tornadoes on matchday three, in a notice of suspension for poor performance signed by the secretary of the referees’ committee, Sani Zubairu.
“The following referees are hereby suspended until they appear before the Referees Committee for explanations on what happened in their matches they were involved as follows: 1. Shooting Stars vs Kwara Utd – Ndubuisi Ukah – Imo; Otuwho Morrision – Delta – Asst. Ref Ii; 2. Rivers Utd vs Niger Tornadoes – Faro Abdulrahman – Lagos,” the statement read.
Previously, the committee had suspended nine officials in the Nigeria Women’s Football League for questionable officiating.
“What we have done in the first instance is purely administrative and it is for the time being. We won’t know what to do until we video what the referees have done. So we suspended them for the time being, pending their meeting with the referees’ committee,” Irabor told The PUNCH.
Meanwhile, officials from Nigeria Professional Football League clubs, fans, and journalists have called for more games in the league to be broadcast live, claiming that it will reduce questionable officiating.
“Live coverage of matches has not really gone around this season,” said Kumbi Titiloye, chairman of Kwara United. So, while it is intended to help check officiating, there are still many issues to address. More games broadcast live will undoubtedly help us achieve this goal.”
Fisayo Dairo, a league journalist, also stated that only clubs streaming matches was insufficient.
“The significance of live television coverage cannot be overstated. We’ve also had contentious decisions in live games, though not as frequently as in non-live games. So, I believe that if we have as many games as possible streamed live by the league body and on TV, everyone, including the players, will want to give their all,” Dairo said.
Musa Tafida, a fan of Bauchi’s Wikki Tourists, also claimed that some clubs were not given media attention. He claimed that Wikki Tourists had a goal disallowed against Bayelsa United on Sunday, but the video went viral, unlike the Rivers United vs Niger Tornadoes incident on Tuesday.
“I believe the reports have been biased. Nobody is talking about WIkki Tourists’ disallowed goal against Bayelsa United in Yenagoa. “There will be more cases like this that will go unnoticed if we continue to focus on one side,” Tafida said.