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It is very unfortunate that these things still occur in the Nigerian league. The league has been on the reverse gear since it went professional in 1990. Whereas the English league went through a revolution in 1992 when Sky Sport pumped in money when it became known as the Premier League up to this day. While the English Premier league is for many years now a global brand worth billions of pounds- which you and I contribute through subscription and payment at viewing centres- our local league is in dire straits.

Last week, the League Management Company announced the suspension of some referees pending investigations into their conduct during Week 14 of NPFL Matches. A record nine penalties were awarded to home teams, especially at the dying moments of the game to completely alter the outcomes. Some home teams came back from the dead while others “earned” three precious points as a result.
The affected Week 14 fixtures are Heartland vs Nasarawa United, Lobi Stars vs Rivers United, Go Round vs Rangers International, Yobe Desert Stars vs Enyimba International and FC IfeanyiUbah vs Plateau United.
Officials recommended for suspension by the LMC are Moroof Afolabi (Kwara), Akinsanya Segun (Oyo), and Alhaji Alhaji (Kogi) who officiated the game between Go Round FC and Enugu Rangers at the Krisdera Hotel Stadium, Omoku.
Also recommended for suspension are the officials who officiated the match day 14 encounter between Heartland and Nasarawa United ma at the Dan Anyiam Stadium Owerri.
For the Lobi Stars vs Rivers United match, the officials recommended for suspension are centre referee Folusho Ajayi (Oyo) and her assistants, Aina Idris (Lagos) and Abdulganiyu Abdulmalik (Bauchi).They are; O.O Awosakin (Ondo), Busayo Ogunyamodi and I.O Awosakin all from Ondo state.

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Further recommended for suspension are officials in the FC IfeanyiUbah vs Plateau United game. They are centre referee Awalu Rabiu (Zamfara), Adamu Zakari (Jigawa) and Badamosi Badamosi (Jigawa).The last batch of officials recommended for suspension are the referees in the Yobe Stars vs Enyimba International match. The referees are Dankano A. Mohammed (Kogi), Mohammed Surakat and Toyin Sunday, both from Kwara State council.
The LMC stated that the performance and conduct of the listed referees recommended for suspension were well below the high standard expected in NPFL including questionable decisions anc failure to submit match reports on time.
I can beat my chest to say the Nigerian league had more quality when it was an amateur league than now that it is so called professional. Stadiums were filled to the rafters in those days of Leventis United, IICC,  Abiola Babes, Enugu Rangers (the old one, I mean), Bendel Insurance, Raccah Rovers, Spartans (which later became Iwuayanwu Nationale, and now a mere pedestrian Heartland FC). People travelled several distances then to watch the rivalry between IICC and Rangers whenever the two giants clashed. The two sides provided the bulk of the senior national team.
Where or when did we get it wrong? One major problem of the Nigerian League is excessive government interference, in terms of ownership. A majority of clubs in Nigeria are owned by the government who do not regard them as business entities.  Therefore, appointments into the boards were just to settle their cronies. These accidental administrators, for their lack of expertise would rather milk the clubs dry rather than work for its progress. And at the end of the administration, the club dies a natural death if the next helmsman lacks the goodwill. Many relics of great clubs, victims of politics, dot the landscape.
And for the sports (football) – loving governors, most times put pressure on his appointees for the club to perform. The board or management is forced to apply every possible means to win. Thus, the win at all cost at home syndrome. This has gone deep into the psyche of our players that they hardly perform away from home. Believing that no matter the effort, they will still lose on the road.
The desperation to win at home has also made referees to mischievously misinterpret the rules to suit the home team and save their neck! Many referees have been assaulted in several match venues. The telling effect is that for many years now, Nigerian clubs fail on the continent and Nigerian referees are not considered for international competitions. And worse, many home based players never get called up to the national team due to their poor quality!
WRITTEN BY: SEGUN PRECIOUS

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