One of the negative tactics covertly deployed by home teams to run down the clock and win matches is the gradual reduction in the number of balls available for play when the home side is leading. The Ball Boys are instructed to hide away balls rather than keeping them to return for play when the one in use goes out.
But the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) has now moved to stamp out this unsporting behaviour, dangling heavy sanctions on clubs that henceforth fails to carry out a reorientation of their Ball Boys to put a stop to the practice.
In a memo to the clubs, Davidson Owumi, the Chief Operating Officer of the NPFL said the attention of the league has been drawn to the corruption of young boys into bad football practice.
“It has come to our attention, the unscrupulous and undisciplined behavior of ball boys on match days. The continuous attitude of ball boys hiding match balls when the game is still on and mostly in favour of the home team shall no more be tolerated”.
The memo reminded the clubs hierarchies that at no time during a match should there be less than ten match balls available to the teams.
“Note that at every point in time during an NPFL match, a minimum of not less than ten match balls should be available for use at all times”, the memo continued.
It said the practice constitutes misconduct under Rule C1.1 of the NPFL Framework and Rules, a breach of which may lead to appropriate sanctions against erring clubs
“We urge you to take immediate steps to rectify this situation by carrying out orientation sessions for the Ball Boys to ensure that they understand and adhere to the rules.
“Failure to do so may result in penalties, including fines and points deductions as outlined in Rule C18 of the NPFL Framework and Rules”, the memo concluded.