When the matter of football in the University community arises, so many elements come to play as regards rating its quality amongst of which include officiating and officials. This brings up the question “officiating in UI: A case of deficient quality or a state; ok by standard?”

They shouldn’t be entirely blamed— Chuks

This question comes at a presumably perfect time when the sports council football has it the ground running and we have witnessed different scenarios of officiating from our referees and their assistants, with so many questions raised over the competence and adequacy of skill knowledge by ardent fans and observers.

It will be hypocritical to turn a blind eye to the shortcomings of the officials, but it is also imperative to note that a host number of factors contribute to the success or failure of a match official. Not forgetting that even the well trained individuals in the art of refereeing with a professional career make mistakes that cost teams on the receiving end of such blunder. This simply implies that referees are not super humans who are infallible.

Over the course of the current football league campaign in the university, there have been cases of officials not picking the right call for fouls, balls-out of play, set pieces and goal scoring chances. My colleague as a keen critique will point out many cases in which the referee and his assistants have had contrasting opinions about a situation in a match, for instance, the referee points a corner-kick while the assistant referee signifies a goal-kick or in situations where the assistant referee signifies an offside and the referee rules over the offside largely due to lack of communication from both sides. 

It is interesting to note that the problem of communication is not only affecting our local referees but it is also evident in our acclaimed Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) as our so called professional referees lack means of communication, hence committing errors from time to time. 

A match referee does not just control the match, but does this in accordance to the 17 Laws of the game created by the ruling body FIFA which most football players and fans do not understand, thus causing uproar when the referee whistles against what they understand to be appropriate. 

On a further note, these officials that we perceive to be incompetent go out to officiate matches in more bigger competitions and in the lower leagues, this is due only to the fact they have attained a certain level according to the Nigerian Referee Association (NRA).

As the League continues, the referees will continuously come under the radar for their performances and just like normal human beings incapable of flawlessness, errors would occur. This doesn’t mean they are clueless; it just exposes the basic reality that we need general improvement of which our professional referees are not left out.

Many most times feel bad officiating beautifies and helps the flow of football, but I think their thoughts is based on the fact that they had not fallen victims of this menace. Bans and fines are very notable in the Nigerian sports, especially the Nigerian Professional Football League and it basically and mostly boils down to bad officiating and I am afraid that one of this days, football in the University of Ibadan community will results in blows and kicks at the referees just like its mother league, Nigerian Professional Football League.

Since I was born, I have never officiating so poor as that in the University of Ibadan, the communication before officials- the referees and linesmen- is poorest and like that of a quarrelling couple, so bad. I was at the old student union pitch watching the sports council inter-faculty match between two power weights, the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and the Faculty of Law and a linesman raised the flag for an offside against one of the players but play continued with the flag still up and after 20 seconds, the referees sensed that and had to call back play that had last 20 seconds back for an offside. What do we call that? Good officiating? Anything worth doing should be worth doing well, if they are referees, they should ref well.

Permit me to say, one of the causes of our underdevelopment in the University Football is Officiating. Officials come late for matches. A match was staged for 3:30pm and it began minutes after 4. Officials should be relied upon, but not that of the University of Ibadan. Fair decisions are hard to come by; players have endless complaint and even pains playing the games, because our officials are the stains in our football.

Our officials can be covered by the fact that they are humans and that even referees in developed leagues make costly mistakes and that there is no technological and improved means of communication. We are not disputing those facts, but we are saying errors should be at its barest minimum; after all they are professionals and trained for this. Referees should look inwards to help University of Ibadan football survive and this stage of it, I am scared it might be murdered with consistency and persistence of bad officiating. 

Our referees if trained should do their homework as they ought to, else they would continually come under radar. We love football and it should be fair and equal. Our referees that is all we want.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s