The President of the Nigeria Referees Association, NRA, Otunba Tade Azeez has charged his members to be good ambassador of the association.

Nigeria Premier League gets underway today with the opening league game at Uyo where home side, Akwa United lock horns with visiting Insurance of Benin.

He assured that the referees listed for the season have been told to be very good ambassadors of the referees’ body and go further to ensure officiating is in line with the Fifa laws of the game.

He said that nothing is expected of them than to become good ambassadors of the association.

“I expect our referees listed for the season to ensure the protect the image of the NRA at all the centres they are called upon to handle matches.

“This is a call to all those listed for the league to note that they are expected to officiate with the rules and regulations of the competition while not forgetting the NRA and NFF integrity clauses”

Otunba Tade Azeez used the opportunity to throw more light into the method used for chosing referees for the new season.

According to him, the number on the list which is in line with the standard the NFF requires responds to acceptable standards in football development. He disclosed that a concise approach was applied for the review of the list which saw only those who had Grade One from 2014 downwards listed and some dropped based on discrepancies related to their records of dates of birth.

He also informed that based on gender sensitivity and to succumb to practices in other Federations, more women referees who are not fifa referees were injected into the premier league officiating list. Few selected women referees who attended the last FIFA listing exercise conducted last year were also promoted to become the Premier League class. The NRA President expressed there is no cause for worry on the part of of those who had Grade One from 2015 till date dropped from the list as their services would be properly utilized where necessary.

Otunba Tade Azeez used the opportunity to warn referees that any one found involved in acts not in conformity with the laws of the game and default on integrity checks will be seriously sanctioned and chances of continuing in the league will be remote.

He advised the referees to shun antics of clubs who come up with unorthodox practices to win at all cost stating that the NRA leadership is working with the NFF and IMC for a better welfare package to match officials while methods for payment of outstanding Match Indemnities are being worked out for settlement. He further added that based on discussion with the NFF President, match Indemnities for the new season shall be paid promptly including provision of security at match venues.

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