1 Following the excellent performances of referees assigned for matches in Week One of the NPFL held today, the Nigeria Referees Association, NRA, has expressed happiness with the output of its members assigned for matches as two away wins and a home draw were recorded in the six matches played in the opening games.
2.Expectedly, the referees lived up to billing with first class performances prompting the President of the NRA, Otunba Tade Azeez to commend the officials for a job well done.
3.However, the NRA observed with regret a sad incident in Jos where the home side, Plateau Utd hosted Ifeanyi Uba of Nnewi, Anambra state. After the encounter that ended scoreless, the match officials, especially the referee, Sam Agba was beaten blue and black by suspected sympathizers of the home side.
4.Preliminary reports reaching the association have it that the unprotected referees after the home side failed to win were left at the mercy of hooligans who attacked them.
5.As at the time of this report, his health condition was said to be in critical state as medical attention was sought to revive him. The offence of the match officials cannot be divorced from the fact that the home side only failed to win with a draw outing thereby confirming earlier postulations of the NRA President that clubs are the bane of good officiating in Nigeria leagues.
6.Otunba Tade in his earlier charge to the Referees for the new season had admonished clubs to eschew Win-At-Home mentality to enable the domestic league grow adding that inadequate security at the match venues and Club Officials knack to instigate their street urchins against the referees when outcome is not in their favour remains one of the greatest monsters bedevilling growth of the league. He noted that referees have been briefed on the consequences of bringing the game to disrepute as stiffer penalties await anyone found wanting.
7.While urging the LMC to take a critical step at punishing the erring side in today’s opening game, Otunba Tade reiterated the earlier stand of the NRA not to honour matches at match venues where referees are attacked this season.
8.Once again, as the NRA awaits details of the Jos incident for further reactions, the President of the association states that no life of a referee is worth a league match in Nigeria for a member to suffer assaults. Media operators and other stakeholders are enjoined to join the campaign against attacks on referees at match venues to save the league.
Tade however disclosed that irrespective of the shenanigans from the Clubs, free and fair officiating remains the watchword of the NRA members. He advised Premier League referees not to be distracted by the Jos ugly incident while sticking to the rules of the game in the course of discharging their duties.
National Publicity Secretary, NRA
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