By Gracious Akujobi
The Ministerial Committee on the review and restructuring of Nigeria referees has identified corruption, poor structure, poor welfare package, indiscipline among others as the major challenges confronting Nigeria football.
Chris Green, the chairman of the committee disclosed this on Tuesday, while submitting its report to the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi.
According to him, “The committee identifies the problems of refereeing in Nigeria are to be associated with structure, security, welfare, corruption and discipline”.
He said the committee made 10-point recommendations, noting that they were arrived at after extensive deliberations, careful observations and consultations.
The recommendations include reduction of the Nigeria Referees to 40 and assistant Referees to 80; the Inspector General of Police to be requested to set up a special task force for football matches for the remaining part of the season; indemnities and transport cost of match officials to be increased by 20 percent for the remaining part of the season and 50 percent from next season and the Federation to design a reform management manual as obtainable in other countries and in line with FIFA recommendation.
Others include: NFF to draw a list of independent persons and providing character and integrity and appoint them as assessors for matches, a corruption hotline to be established in the NFF/LMC and other leagues with an emails address to report corruption cases and suspicious activity, the NFF referees’ committee to fully take over the function of training and development of reform in line with FIFA guideline, a reform department to be set up in the NFF to coordinate all referees matters and the NFF/LMC to source for sectoral sponsors for referees in order to finance the new initiatives.
In his response, Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdulahi, stressed the need for credibility and integrity if Nigeria sports must be driven to the Promised Land.
While thanking the members of the committee for their selflessness in discharging the assignment, Mr. Abdullahi assured that the Federal Government and Nigeria Football Administration would see to the implementation of the recommendations for the growth and development of Nigeria football.
The Minister of Sports had on July 17, 2013 set up the committee to proffer the way forward for the growth and development of Nigeria league.
Other members of the committee are; Emeka Inyama, Farouk Yarma, Salihu Abubarkar, Mu’azu Kawu, Dilichuukwu Oyedima and Muazu Suliema.