Babagana Kalli, the Chairman, Match Commissioners’ Appointment Committee, says the League Management Committee (LMC) is working on the integrity of match commissioners as the new football season commences.
Kalli told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday that the issue formed part of the ongoing 2017 Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Match Commissioners’ Seminar in Abuja.
Kalli, an NFF Executive Committee member and Chairman, Borno State Football Association (FA), said that many changes had been carried out by the LMC to ensure a league.
He said some had to do with changes introduced in the policy of FIFA, especially in the area of integrity.
“We received a letter from FIFA telling us that henceforth, no member of the Match Appointment Committee is allowed to act as Match Commissioner.
“It said that those serving as Chairmen or independent directors in other leagues are barred from participating in match commissioning.
“So, we are now working seriously on the issue of the integrity of our match commissioners,’’ he said.
He revealed that one of the new innovations of the new season was the introduction of Independent Match Assessors.
“In the new season, most of the NFF board members will be attending league matches from time to time to have first hand information about happenings in the leagues.
“Also, the LMC’s new partnerships with the various media houses will also ensure that these matches are beamed live both locally and internationally for the whole world to see.
“This is international best practice and I hope it will help in checking the excesses of both the referees and the match commissioners,’’ he said.
He explained that as match commissioners, they must be seen to be fair, honest and just to all parties at all times.
“It is our duty to ensure that the integrity of the league is not compromised.
“If you look at last season for instance, we had a lot of issues, especially in some matches.
“A lot of referees were either suspended or expelled from officiating in the leagues after the review of some of the matches on tape.
“But the Match Commissioners who are part of the officials in those matches were neither suspended nor expelled; it is not supposed to be so.
“What it means is that there is something fishy about that match, because there are no ways you can expel a referee without the match commissioner indicting him.
“So, once a match commissioner does not indict a referee, it simply means that the referee has done nothing wrong.
“It is the match commissioner’s report that is meant to show the performance of a referee in a particular match.
“So, what happens in some cases is that the match commissioners try to conceal wrong doing by the referee and so, these are some of the issues we are trying to deal with decisively as a committee,’’ he said.
The chairman also assured football enthusiasts that the era of the home team winning at all cost would soon be a thing of the past to make the league one of the best in the continent.
“It is a process and we will soon get there by the grace of God.
“If you look at the 2015/2016 season, you will agree with me that it was far better than the previous seasons.
“There was a significant increase in the number of away matches won compared to the 2014/2015 season.
“So, we are hopeful that this season will record much more away wins and I have charged the match commissioners to ensure that they operate on the same frequency with the LMC,’’ Kalli said.
NAN reports that no fewer than 800 match commissioners from the 36 states of the