‘The attendant economic hardship which follows coronavirus has definitely affected everyone and if Clubs as an entity would be covered by the fund, why should referees not”.
In the event that the NFF eventually distribute the grants from FIFA and CAF to support Clubs post Covid-19, the question of what will be the lot of referees in the overall plan aimed at cushioning the effects of the pandemic remain unanswered.
Amaju Pinnick, the NFF President disclosed last week that the money from FIFA and CAF ($1million and $500,000 respectively) will be ready for distribution to clubs soon. The football supremo noted that monies are also expected from some of NFF official sponsors, like Nike and Nigeria breweries amongst others.
Like club and Player Associations, Referees remain an integral part of the round leather game and their contribution to the development of football can’t be overemphasized.
Talking of the investment to stay atop of the situation and live up to their constitutional expectations, reports show that NPFL League Referees are expected to attend physical exercises and seminars during the course of the league for 4 times.
National League Referee would go once and the Nationwide league cadres are also mandated for ‘a trip’ of physical exercise. For these physical trainings, whoever fails the rudiments according to the standard rules will no longer be allowed to continue officiating the league for the season in view.
Although, all the exercise and seminar are standard that is needed and internationally acknowledged, it will have all the referees dipping into their pockets for fees in the need to fulfill some of the registration demands and to attend it.
As the bride of the game, their welfarism should remain a top priority and of course be roll in for consideration and factored alongside the manifestation of the FIFA and CAF grants to clubs.
The attendant economic hardship which follows coronavirus has definitely affected everyone and if clubs as an entity would be covered by the fund, why should referees not?
Referees who spoke in anonymity even revealed that, they are being owed backlog of indemnities and in the most unusual manner, some have not been paid for job done as far back last two and three seasons.
Without many storylines, Referees wield influence on the game and if there is ever an intervention that will bring succour to football industry as FIFA and CAF might have envisaged, they deserve to be shown some level of empathy.
It is however expedient and imperative for the leadership of the Referees to also make a bold statement in this call for ’empathized disposition’ on its members.
Referee body is an institution that can’t be left behind in the plan to change the face of the game.
Whether conscious or deliberate, their trademark must at all time be watered and nurtured in the vision to etch the football game a perfect colours.