By Muhyideen Jimoh
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria National League (NNL), Sajo Mohammed, has pledged to raise the standard of officiating in the league in line with international best practice.
Mohammed told the News Agency of Nigeria ((NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that it was glaring that a high standard of officiating was needed to improve football generally in the country.
He said it was even more important to have good and fair officiating in the second tier national league, in view of its importance, in order to raise the game’s standard.
“We try as much as possible to impress on the clubs to obey the rules, and not only the clubs but also the match officials.
“We want our referees to go by the rules, for fair officiating. These are all rules that should be followed religiously.
“ Once you don’t follow the rules in football, then it is not the game of football,’’ Mohammed said.
He also harped on the need for all clubs to respect the COVID-19 protocols while warning that clubs without adequate medical facilities, ambulances and paramedics would be sanctioned.
“We have written to all clubs to observe COVID-19 protocols and we also told the clubs that the issue of medical is very important and they must ensure that all players and officials undergo the COVID-19 test.
“ All clubs must also make sure that they have club doctors and physiotherapists, as well as a functional ambulance attached to every club.
“Not just on the field of play but even during their trainings. We have informed them of the need to have all these in place.
“Any club that violates these instructions will be sanctioned either through fines or if need be the club will be stopped from participating in the league,” the NNL CEO said.
On the issue of travel arrangements by clubs, he advised clubs to shun night travels while also beefing up security when traveling for their league matches.
“We have also advised the clubs against night travels. We have urged them to as much as possible travel in the day time and we are also trying to send a circular instructing the clubs to travel with security at all times.
“It is very necessary for the teams to travel with a minimum of two armed policemen in the event of any attack because nowadays we have a lot of security challenges in the country and our roads are also not too good.
“We want the safety of everybody and that is why we have also insisted that they must ensure that the buses they are traveling with are insured.
“We already have an insurance company and we have instructed all clubs to ensure they do both vehicle as well as life insurance for the players,” Mohammed added.
He described as regrettable the recent accidents and attacks on team buses of some NPFL clubs while traveling to honour their away fixtures. (NAN)