Stakeholders lament disruption of NWFL as referees body allegedly demands ‘sitting allowance’
What was expected to be a renaissance in Nigeria’s domestic league after the COVID-19 lockdown of sporting activities suffered a major blow on Wednesday last week when members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Referees Appointment Committee allegedly delayed to assign match officials for the Week Three matches of the Nigerian Women Football League.
The committee members, whose responsibility is to appoint match referees for games, refused to do that because ‘the board of the women league did not pay them sitting allowance,’ an official of one of the clubs alleged.
The official, who pleaded anonymity, said they were taken aback when the leadership of the Referees Committee did not name match officials for Wednesday’s game until 1.00 p.m. on match day.
“When we enquired, they told us that we must pay their sitting allowance if they were to do their job.
“Their action led to some of the matches holding very late in the night on match day, while others were moved to the following day,” he said.
He revealed that the referees and match commissioners have threatened they would not appoint referees for NWFL until their demands are met.
“Standing committees belong to the NFF, which takes care of their sitting and other allowances. NFF, like CAF and FIFA, pay their committees for meetings. Some of the board members know the right thing, but they are not saying anything.
“The people that disrupted the league and held the NWFL to ransom are unpatriotic and among the many things wrong in our system. In other climes, such people are tried for crimes against society,” the source said.
A lawyer, who is also a sports enthusiast, Sabinus Ikewuaku, advised the leadership of the women league to call off the competition if the NFF “will not put its house in order.”
He lamented that many Nigerians see public office as a call to misbehave, adding that the committee members, who joined in holding the women league to ransom should hide their faces in shame.
“I am waiting to see what the NFF will do about this because it is capable of tarnishing the federation’s image,” he said.
The Guardian learnt that the NFF board would meet in Abeokuta today ahead of the federation’s annual general meeting (AGA) in the same city tomorrow.