The Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) has issued a stern warning to NPFL clubs, urging them to ensure a conducive atmosphere during matches throughout the 2023/24 season and thr issue of Referees’ Changing Rooms.
This directive, articulated in a memorandum signed by the NPFL Chief Operating Officer, Davidson Owumi, comes in response to a concerning trend of unauthorized individuals encroaching into restricted areas, particularly around the referees’ changing rooms during matches.
In the memo, Owumi expressed his increasing concern about these unauthorized access incidents and emphasized the need for immediate rectification:
“It is becoming increasingly worrisome that unauthorised persons are encroaching into restricted areas during matches of the ongoing season,” the memo began.
Clubs’ top officials were reminded that, according to league regulations, no club personnel are permitted to access or engage in discussions with match officials before, during, or after any fixture.
The memo underscored that access to match officials is strictly reserved for appointed Match Commissioners and Referees at halftime.
“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 any time 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 emphatically stated.
While urging club leaders to facilitate professional match management and prevent the recurrence of unsavory reports from various venues, Owumi issued a cautionary note.
The league administration, he warned, would not hesitate to apply the full sanctions outlined in the Framework and Rules of the NPFL in cases of proven unauthorized access to match officials.
In a separate development, the NPFL also urged clubs to refrain from requesting fixture rescheduling.
With the release of the full season fixtures, clubs have been given ample notice to plan their schedules accordingly.
The league made it clear that there would be no consideration for game rescheduling requests.
“Please be informed that the full fixtures of the season have been made available to all clubs with provisions for two midweek fixtures on Matchdays 6 and 12. This notice should provide sufficient time for all clubs to organize logistics for honoring the fixtures, as the league will not entertain any requests for game rescheduling,” the clubs were duly informed.