As the mid-season break commenced after Matchday 19 over the weekend, Davidson Owumi, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) looked back at the proceedings and noted that there has been marked improvement in several aspects of the league organisation.

Assessing the performance of the Referees, the former international turned football administrator believes that officiating got better with a handful of errors that could have been erased if modern technological aids have been deployed.

“After 185 matches, we probably had issues with less than 15 and in terms of percentage, I think our Referees scored over 85 percent which represents excellence.

“We are not unmindful that football is now technologically driven for players training and match officiating where the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) now assist Referees correct human errors”

Owumi said the NPFL is working with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and other development partners towards introducing technology in the league.

He also pointed to the leagues zero tolerance for poor officiating as manifested in swift withdrawal of culprits from officiating in matches of the NPFL.

“We worked in perfect sync with the NFF Referees Appointment Committee to organise trainings for selected members of the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) and those who have so far been adjudged to have performed poorly were delisted for now”, Owumi told NPFL Media.

He said the NPFL prioritised the welfare of all match officials and “we not only increased their travel allowances and honorarium but also ensured their bank accounts were credited before they travel. This is unprecedented in the history of the league”.

The NPFL Boss revealed that the Referees performances were boosted by the special arrangement for Matchday security squad that all clubs were mandated to provide for match officials.

“Last season,  we enshrined points deduction in the Framework and Rules for any club whose fans physically attacked our Referees and this season,  we went a step further to mandate all home teams to provide Special Escort Security Squad for Match officials.

“The only breach was recorded in Gombe and Gombe United were ducked three points and three goals.

“So, overall we have made it possible for our officiating to improve considerably and would continue to explore opportunities to attain global best rating. It’s work in progress”, Owumi concluded.

The 2023/24 NPFL mid-season commenced on January 19, 2024 and the season will resume on February 3, 2024.

David NPFL
January 24, 2024
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