The Nigeria Football Federation and the League Management Company have come out to commend the impact of new measures and the NFF’s capacity building programmes in turning around the fortunes of the various domestic League competitions, viz Nigeria Professional Football League, Nigeria National League, Nigeria Women Football League and the Nigeria Nation-Wide League.
At a joint briefing of the NFF Organizing Committee, the League Management Company and the NFF Referees Committee in Abuja on Tuesday, NFF 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi expressed confidence that the Leagues can only get better, in the face of the commitment of the Amaju Pinnick –led NFF towards taking Nigeria football to new heights.
“These wonderful results, we have always expected because of the carefully-laid-down training programme for the referees and the referee assessors vis-à-vis capacity building for referees in the United Kingdom and the series of seminars organized here in Nigeria for the referees and referee assessors.
“We feel delighted that FIFA acknowledge our efforts by approving a very special training course for our referees, referee assessors and physical fitness trainers which had been organized in Abuja from 23 – 29 May, 2015.”
Akinwunmi, in company with NFF 2nd Vice President/Chairman of LMC, Mallam Shehu Dikko, NFF Executive Committee members Yusuf Ahmed Fresh and Ahmad Kawu, NFF General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, NFF Deputy General Secretary Emmanuel Ikpeme and FIFA Technical Advisor (Refereeing) Linus Mba, disclosed that the adoption of referee assessors, painstaking measures and sincerity on the part of all within the supreme governing body for the game in the country have helped bolster the Leagues.
“Presently, we have a situation we have never experienced before since Professional League was launched in 1990,” he said, in reference to the improved situation in the League, with 14 away wins and 37 draws in the first 14 weeks of the elite division season. He also commended the transparency and thoroughness of the Referees Committee in making appointments.
“The Committee always takes actions against referees who perform below standard. The case of two referees in the Premier League – Charles (Enugu State) and Matador (Abia State) is clear evidence of the committee’s commitment to enforce discipline on the referees.”
NFF 2nd Vice President, Mallam Shehu Dikko, called a lie on the widely-held belief that the LMC signed a sponsorship contract with Globacom that precludes other telecommunication companies from having a bite of the League.
“The LMC has a contract with Globacom but other telecom companies are free to sponsor the participating clubs, but in order to protect Globacom, we said that no telecom company can sponsor more than two clubs in the top division.” He also chided media officers of clubs who are in the habit of spreading misleading information in the social media, instead of approaching the LMC with whatever information they had, for the body to investigate and find out the truth.
NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, reiterated the readiness of the present NFF team to run a transparent, accountable administration for the good of the Nigeria game, and charged the media to provide its invaluable support all the way, and also not to be shy to come forward with useful information that could help eradicate unhealthy practices.