Referees council Wants Nasarawa FA, Bet9ja Partnership sustained
The Nasarawa Referees Council, (NRC) has advocated that the partnership between the Nasarawa Football Association (FA) and Bet9ja, a betting company, be sustained for the benefits it accorded the youth and referees in the state.
Mohammed Isa, the Secretary of the Council made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) in Lafia on Monday.
NAN reports that Nasarawa FA recently agreed to go into partnership with Bet9ja to organise and sponsor its 2019/2020 ‘Premier League Competition’ initiative for 30 local football teams across the state divided into four groups.
The competition, which kicked off on Sept. 26 has engaged many of the youth, coaches and referees on a weekly basis at different football venues across the state.
Isa said the partnership had benefitted not only the players and teams involved in the competition but also referees as they were now fully engaged weekly to officiate in the different fixtures across the state.
He added that besides the benefit of experience on the pitch for the referees, they were also enjoying good match day bonuses courtesy of the partnership.
“Honestly, the welfare package for our officials has been very fantastic especially since Bet9ja agreed to partner the FA.
“No doubt, the FA is doing its best, but with the recent collaboration with Bet9ja, referees welfare is now the best,” he said.
He explained that notwithstanding the impressive welfare package, referees were transported and provided adequate security on match days.
He stated that such concern was the reason for the council to call on both parties to sustain the partnership given the benefits it had afforded many stakeholders.
“Since the competition started, the organisers do not owe for any fixture and they give us every necessary support we need to do our job as expected.
“So, we are thrilled with the partnership and want it to continue,” he said.
He also appealed to the state government and other stakeholders to offer the referees financial support and constant training that would afford them the eligibility to officiate matches across the country and international fixtures.
“I am appealing to our state government and private individuals to support referee activities because we are lagging behind in many things.
“Very soon, we have a national seminar and fitness test for referees, but there is nobody to support us.
“So we are appealing to the state government and private individuals to support us because these events are very important to our referees,” he said.
The NRC secretary also advocated for stiffer sanctions for violent attacks on referees to be put in place.
Isa urged stiffer sanctions such as lengthy ban, huge fine, among others to scare sports men and women from bullying and attacking referees on and outside the field of play.