President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick says he decided to invest in the training and retraining of Nigerian referees because of his conviction that they can help to improve the quality of the Nigerian league if they have a conducive environment to officiate matches.
Pinnick who spoke in Abuja at the second National Seminar for Referee Assessors organized by the NFF said he believes that Nigerian referees have the capacity to be among the very best in the world if given the needed security at match venues.
He decried the situation where the outcome of matches could be easily predicted because the referees are always put under intense pressure to favour the home clubs, a situation he regretted removes the vital part of a game which is suspense.
“Importantly we must improve the quality of the league because as we all know the referees are a major determining factor of whether people will want to come and watch a match or not; going to a match you already know that a particular team is going to lose will not make you want to go and watch a match.
A match is supposed to be competitive and to put somebody in suspense but once the suspense element is not there, there may be no need to go to the stadium and it is only the referee that can determine that”.The NFF boss further stated that it was that drive to make Nigerian referees more visible in international matches that motivated the federation to send some referees to a refresher course in England adding that the gesture will be a continuous one.
Pinnick further added that sine much is always expected of one who has taken much, the NFF will expect a better officiating of league matches because that is the only way the referees can give back to the federation for the unprecedented development.
“We are very excited about what we have been able to do with the referees so far, to whom much is given much is expected, after doing all these for referees, we do not expect them to do less, the leadership of the Nigeria Referees association (NRA) and the NFF referees committee will engage the league to find out about their remuneration, once we find out it is in line with global standards, we will not just blacklist them but to even prosecute them according to football laws” Pinnick stated.
A total number of 65 people referees took part in the two-day seminar which ended yesterday.