By Amaechi Agbo
The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF has sanctioned five referees who officiated matches in the ongoing 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football season for unprofessional conduct.
The NFF through the Referees Committee sanctioned Ahmad Rabiu of Kano Council and his team of officials, comprising two Assistant Referees and the Fourth Official who handled one of the Week One matches; Heartland vs MFM in Okigwe.
Similarly, the referee who handled the Week 2 Match; Katsina United vs Enyimba, Prince Isiah of Ekiti has been put in the cooler for five matches while the first four mentioned will rest till the end of the first stanza.
In a release by the National Publicity Secretary, Nigeria Referees Association, NRA, Kelechi Mejuobi, it notes that the sanctioned referees are expected to undergo fresher courses before they are assimilated into the system again for appointments.
The NFF Referees Committee resolved at the meeting in the Secretariat of the Federation Abuja after members critically reviewed the performances of referees and assistant referees in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) so far since the commencement of the 2019/2020 football season to reel out the sanctions.
“The Committee commended the continuing improvement in the quality of officiating while commending the referees and assistant referees for imbibing the new concepts as well as the current interpretations and applications of the Letters of the Laws of the Games.
“Commended the Federation hosting the recently concluded FIFA Member Association Referees Course last October in Abuja which the Committee observed has been impacting positively on football refereeing in Nigeria in the course of the past weeks.
“The Committee nevertheless sanctioned some referees and assistant referees, who appeared personally to explain the circumstances of their shortcoming resulting in unacceptable performance which had tended to cast serious slur on efforts and determination of a host of others to succeed.
Referee Prince Isiah who supervised the match between Katsina United and Enymbia International during the Week Two encounter has been suspended for the next Five Premier League matches for i.) the inability enforce with the Rules of the Premier League Competition leading to unacceptable incidents during the match; and ii.) for glaring inability to manage the players.
“Sanctioned also are the referee; the assistant referees and the fourth official of the Week One match between Heartland and MFM. They were Ahmad Rabiu; Peter Ogwu; Musa Dung Davon and A Udoette who were discovered to have been involved in an act capable of bringing the game into disrepute.
“The Committee decided to suspend the entire four officials until the end of the first stanza of the 2019/2020 Premier League competitions.
“Committee assured that it would leave no stone unturned in support of Nigerian referees who show great promise but would be prepared to delist others who cannot match the tempo of development the Federation would want to achieve” the statement added.