MatchDay secret assessment of Referees is to make a return as the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) kickoff this Saturday in all the scheduled fixtures.
Secret Assessors are representatives of the league sent for covert check on performance of match Officials.
Davidson Owumi, the Chief Operating Officer of the NPFL announced the scheme as part of the league body’s steps towards improving officiating.
“Our Secret Assessors are going to play the dual role of providing useful intelligence on the conduct of Match Officials on the pitch and checking intimidation of Match Officials at any time in the course of their duty”, Owumi told NPFL Media.
“Part of our appraisals at the end of last season revealed that our Match Officials are often harassed, if not physically attacked in the changing rooms at half time. The intimidation consequently affects the performance of the Referees afterwards.
“We have therefore moved to ensure that the Referees would no longer carry out their duties under any form of duress, fear and pressure”, explained the NPFL COO.
He warned that the NPFL will come down hard on Clubs that breach the safety of Match Officials in line with extant rules of the League.
“The Framework and Rules will be strictly adhered to and sanctions will be enforced in line with the rules for violations especially as it relates to harassment of Match Officials”, Owumi continued.
“The performance of Referees in the domestic league affects their international ratings and the value of the League. We must therefore provide them safe conditions to carry out their duties”, he further noted.
In a related development, only provisional approval has been granted some clubs whose grounds were found not have completely met Facility requirements.
Kano Pillars, Bayelsa United, Heartland, Abia Warriors and Gombe United were allowed to play on their nominated home grounds while Lobi Stars and Niger Tornadoes are to play at alternate grounds.
While Tornadoes will play in Kaduna, Lobi Stars are to play in Lafia.