Sanni Zubair, the President of the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA), reaffirmed the organization’s dedication to weeding out underperforming referees from the country’s domestic leagues.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, Zubair addressed the prevalent issue of subpar officiating that has been a cause for concern in the ongoing 2023–2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season, now 10 weeks old.
The persistent problem of poor officiating has sparked widespread complaints, jeopardizing the integrity of the beautiful game of football. Referees’ decisions have been a constant source of contention, leading to disagreements week after week.
Zubair emphasized the influential role of referees in shaping the outcome of matches and outlined the NRA’s commitment to upholding officiating standards. Regardless of any influential connections, he stated that measures have been implemented to act as deterrents.
The NRA, he declared, is determined to take strict action against referees found to be deliberately erring, ensuring they face the full consequences according to officiating principles.
Highlighting recent disciplinary actions, Zubair pointed to the suspension of 14 referees by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on November 6 during the ongoing NPFL season.
The suspended referees, including individuals such as Bawa Buhari, Chukwuka Jahlove, Akinwale Tomiwa, Saeed Abdulaziz, Jimmy Aimugbonrie, Brown Ebenezer, Atuwho Morrison, Imamu Maliki, and Sunday Azi, were held accountable for their contribution to poor officiating.
The disciplinary measures extended to the four match officials involved in a Matchday Six fixture between Sunshine Stars and Abia Warriors. Additionally, video clips were reviewed for the Matchday five encounter between Gombe United and Plateau United, as well as the week seven fixture between Bendel Insurance and Remo Stars in Benin.
Notably, the controversial disallowance of a potential goal of the season scored by a Remo Stars player added to the scrutiny of officiating standards in the league. The NRA’s resolute stance aims to restore confidence in officiating and maintain the integrity of the sport.