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NPFL Board deploys Covert Assessors to monitor Refrees and Clubs

By Daniel Oriloye - In order to keep an eye on the actions of clubs and referees throughout the 2023–24 Nigeria Premier Football League season, secret observers will be stationed at match locations.

The program was launched by Davidson Owumi, the NPFL's chief operating officer, as one of the league body's initiatives to enhance officiating.

The action will assist in reducing poor officiating in Nigeria's top division.

Additionally, it would guarantee that referees no longer do their duties under any kind of coercion.

The assessors will offer valuable information about how match officials behave on the field and about preventing intimidation of match officials at any point when they are performing their duties.

This weekend, the 2023–24 NPFL season will begin with eight games spread over several venues.

The program was revealer Davidson Owumi, the NPFL's chief operating officer, as part of the league body's efforts to improve officiating said:

“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 issued a warning that, in accordance with the League's current rules, the NPFL will punish severely Clubs who violate match officials' safety.

“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.

He further noted, “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”.

Besides NPFL board deploys covert assessors to monitor referees and clubs, in a related development, certain clubs whose grounds were judged to have not fully complied with Facility requirements have only been given provisional approval.

While Lobi Stars and Niger Tornadoes must play at other locations, Kano Pillars, Bayelsa United, Heartland, Abia Warriors, and Gombe United were permitted to play on their designated home fields.

While Lobi Stars will play in Lafia, Tornadoes will play in Kaduna.

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