Dr. Christian Emeruwa, one of the Nigeria Football Federation’s presidential candidates, has provided insight into why FIFA and the Confederation of African Football have routinely overlooked Nigerian referees.
Emeruwa stated that the reason Nigerian referees were never nominated for FIFA and CAF seminars was because of a lack of uniformity in the nomination process. If elected to power in the September 30, 2022 Elective Congress in Benin, Emeruwa’s agenda is intended to revolutionize Nigerian football.
He claims that by choosing referees from various zones in an effort to please every region, the nation shortchanged itself because Nigerian referees never meet the requirements for selection for competitions that they host internationally.
He said that when these bodies organizes referee seminars, they expect one referee to take part in all the seminars since the first serves as prerequisite for the second seminar, while the first two seminars serve as prerequisite for the third.
“What we have in Nigeria is this balancing act where we send one referee to each seminar. We want to satisfy all.
We say that you attended the first seminar, let another referee attend the second one. When the third seminar is organized, we send another referee.
These three referees have not completed the mandatory seminars for them to qualify for invitation.
“One referee must take part in all the three seminars,” he said, adding this is the reason why particular referees from certain countries are always invited by FIFA and CAF with regards to African referees.
He said that until we jettison this balancing act, Nigerian referees would continue to play a second fiddle role to their African counterparts. e also alluded to Nigeria’s failure to key into the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in the country as another reason why Nigerian referees would continue to suffer neglect by FIFA and CAF.
“The VAR has comer to stay,” he said, adding while Morocco has deployed this technology in their leagues, the NFF has not deemed it fit. “You don’t expect FIFA and CAF to drop referees that use VAR every week for Nigerian referees that do not understand this technology.
We have to key into this technology or else we will continue to lag behind.”
It would be recalled that no Nigerian referee has refereed at the FIFA World Cup while CAF in the last decade has not considered any Nigerian referee for the Africa Cup of Nations.