Stay away from referees changing rooms, NPFL leadership tells clubs

Clubs hierarchy in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) has been charged to provide conducive atmosphere at all times during the matches of the 2023/24 season.

The charge came through a memo to the clubs and signed by the NPFL Chief Operating Officer, Davidson Owumi, who observed that there has been a number of disturbing incidences reported around the Changing Rooms of the Referees at some venues.

“It is becoming increasingly worrisome that unauthorised persons are encroaching to restricted areas during matches of the ongoing season,” the memo said.

The club bosses were reminded that no club official is allowed access to match Officials before, during and after any fixture.

“It has become necessary to remind our Chairmen, General Managers and other top officials of the clubs that no club officer is permitted to visit or talk to Match Officials in their Changing Rooms at halftime or at anytime in the course of a league match. Access to Match Officials is restricted and only appointed Match Commissioners and Referees are to be in the designated rooms at halftime”, the memo said.

Owumi appealed to the clubs’ leaders to provide enabling condition for a professional match management to avoid the ugly reports that has been coming out of some venues but warned that the League administration will not hesitate to apply the full sanctions as provided in the Framework and Rules of the NPFL in proven cases of unacceptable access to Match Officials.

In a separate development, the NPFL has asked club to avoid the penchant for requesting fixture rescheduling, noting that with the release of the full fixtures, all clubs have been placed on sufficient notice to plan their schedules.

“Please, be informed also that the full fixtures of the season has been made available to all clubs with provision for two midweek fixtures for MatchDay 6 and 12. It has thus provided sufficient notice for all clubs to put in place the logistics to honour the fixtures as the League would not entertain any requests for game rescheduling”, the clubs were informed.