Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Tuesday in Abuja warned that referees who under-performed in the ongoing league would be severely dealt with in the new season.
Ahmed Yusuf, the Chairman of NFF Referees’ Committee, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the Federation’s expectation from referees this year was an above-average performance.
He said the Federation was adopting a “fall-in-or-shape-out’’ approach in dealing with the problem, which appeared to have already started manifesting after just one match day of the league season.
NAN recalls that the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League season had got off to a disgraceful start on Saturday, with FC IfeanyiUbah abandoning their Match Day 1 fixture with Kano Pillars.
FC IfeanyiUbah’s grouse was referee Folusho Ajayi’s act of disallowing what appeared to be an equaliser from a free kick just before the end of the first half.
Three minutes after the game’s break, the visiting Nnewi club walked out on the game, apparently as a result of an order from a top club official.
Ajayi has since then been referred to the NFF for further investigation.
The League Management Company (LMC) said “she failed to meet up with the high standard expected in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and exhibited unsatisfactory game management’’.
The LMC further recommended that Ajayi be withdrawn from consideration for future NPFL matches, pending a full review of performance.
“I expect the referees to perform above average this season.
“Last season, I scored them about 75 per cent, but I am expecting them to perform up to 90 percent this season.
“We are going to sustain the procedure and any NPFL referee who is found to have under-performed will be demoted to the lower league.
“If a referee is found wanting, I am assuring Nigerians that he or she would definitely be retired.
“But we would have to look at their performance first before passing judgment.
“We have what we call the Performance Review Committee, whose job it is to review the performance of every referee on every match day.
“The members will do their job and send their report to the larger committee, which I head, before we take the final decision,” he said.(NAN)