Nigerian referees want immunity from physical attacks, which they deserve anyway. They are an integral part of the game,football doesn’t exist without them but they also don’t exist without football. This is where the puzzle is.
Referees should honour the game and uphold its ethics with passionate honesty and sincerity. Oftentimes, Nigerian referees fail in this duty. They are obviously not alone in the grand shenanigans, club officials, government officials, members of football associations, journalists an so on also plod them on.
Nigerian referees also operate in an environment where the real values of football are not being promoted, where the game is also an instrument of corruption and the likes. Nigerian fans want to watch good football, sometimes their livelihood is tied to the players, the coaches, the chairman, the team and general managers, they wait for the ‘entitled’ share of the home-win bonus. However dirty that may seem, it is the damn reality.
So when a referee kills that expectation with an horrendous officiating, they will react. They also conclude that the referee has been financially induced by the away team, either rightly or wrongly. So referees will always be beaten in the Nigerian league except there are clear consciences and indications of that in officiating. It is anti-football for referees to be attacked by fans, but the emotions of the game and the Nigerian environment will always make this a part of our football no matter the sanctions erring teams get.
Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde