Training and welfare of referees my top priority, says Azeez

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Lagos- Tade Azeez, the newly elected president, Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) on Tuesday said that the welfare and training of referees would be his priorities during his tenure in office.
Azeez told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that provision of adequate security for referees would impact meaningfully on the development of the Nigerian League.
”The well being of referees in the premier league and the lower leagues is of great importance to me and once we can take good care of our referees, it will have effect on our football positively.
”The ongoing referee courses in England, which no fewer than 50 referees have benefited from, is part of the agenda which I will like to continue to push forward.
”Once we have a good number of our referees having top grade trainings, then we have chances of having them being called up for international competitions,’’ Azeez said.
H said that the target is to have Nigerian referees officiating in major global tournaments.
”My target is for Nigerian referees to be able to meet up with the rest of the world.
“ My joy would be to see Nigerian referee officiating at the next world cup in 2018 in Russia,” Azeez said.
According to him, referees indemnity will be given top priority.
He said that good remuneration would go a long way in motivating the referees.
”Our referees currently earn N14, 000.00 per match in the premier league and even lower in the other leagues; this exposes them to all kinds of manipulation.

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”Assuming they go to officiate a match in Port Harcourt, they use N10,000 for transport to and fro and are left with just N4,000, how do they cope with this?
”So we are going to inaugurate a committee that will consist of members of the football federation and the referee association to see that referees receive something to make them happy.
”This committee will also look into areas of their security such that referees will be well protected while doing their job,” he said.
Azeez, who is also the vice chairman of the Lagos State Football Association, said that he was hopeful that his tenure would witness turn around in football refereeing in the country.
NAN reports that Azeez, who was the immediate deputy president of NRA, scored 37 votes to defeat Sunday Audu of FCT, who pulled 15 votes in the election held on Saturday in Benin.
Dokubo Dabore (Rivers) had eight votes, while Fatai Yusuf (Ogun) recorded five votes.
Azeez is taking over from Ahmed Maude who served the body for eight years.
Other elected officials are Sanni Zubair – Deputy President, Omeiza- Deputy Secretary, Kelechi Mejuobi- Public Relations Officer, Salauwa Aliu -Training Officer, Adebisi Sarah – Assistant Training Officer and Elder Olokor – Financial Secretary.(NAN)