Nigeria’s 11 elite referees listed for a two-week capacity-enhancing programme in England have been granted entry visas into the United Kingdom.
The referees, constituting the first batch of arbiters to be afforded capacity-enhancing opportunities with a view to improving officiating of the domestic League, are: Ferdinand Udoh, Shuaibu Abdullahi, Usman Isah, Samuel Pwadutakan, Tope Orowole, Egudia Efosa, Peter Ogwu, Paul Umuago, Musa Dung Davon, Olayinka Olayide and Ukah Ndubuisi.
The delegation, to be led by President of Nigeria Referees Association (NRA), Alhaji Ahmed Maude and Chairman of the NFF Referees Committee, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, will depart for London on Sunday, and will be at the English FA High Performance Training Facility at St. Georges Park, Burton-on-Trent on Monday and Tuesday.
Their stay in England will also see them visit Wembley Stadium and Emirates Stadium, the offices of The FA, get involved in study group mini-workshops, assess refereeing operations at a Premier League match and attend a Question-and-Answer session to analyse weekend Premier League matches.
Meanwhile, NFF President, Mr. Amaju Pinnick has disclosed that the new NFF administration is striving to enhance the capacity of Nigeria’s referees in order to be able to improve the lot of football on the domestic front.
“We fully appreciate the position of the league as the bedrock of our football. That is why we are determined to improve every facet of the game.
“We want to start with the referees because they are critical to the matches. Referees have the power to influence the course and complexion of games, for good or for bad. If the referees are firm and incorruptible, we would be on the road to sanity.”
Pinnick added: “We are not only aiming to enhance the capacity of referees; we intend to enhance their remuneration as well. In England, referees indemnities are paid by one company. We will try to do the same here. We are already talking to some corporate organisations with a view to helping with payment of referees’ indemnities.
“After the above steps are taken to improve the lot of referees, any of them caught in shady business will not only be blacklisted, he or she will also be prosecuted.”