NATIONAL President of Association of Sports Veterans of Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Ogufere says Nigerian referees are not the most corrupt as erroneously being rated by many including international bodies.
Speaking when he led other members of the Association to the home of Chief Austin Anisha,
a veteran referee who celebrated his 86th birthday in his home town Asaba, Ogufere lamented that referees were not given due attention that they deserved back home here in Nigeria as the practice in overseas.
According to him, â€œwe feel we should really have this association becauseÂ in places like United Kingdom, Brazil and so forth, on important sports engagements, the veterans are brought out on parade to serve as modelsÂ for the incoming generation.
â€œThe veteran footballers, the veteran internationals, the veteran coaches, the veteran referees are properly recognized and given places of honour during such competitions.Â That is very much lacking in our country today and this is something we are trying to correct.
â€œThe association is there to advise and give sense of direction to incumbents. The association also can be regarded as part of the custodians of sports history and statistics, so this association has a very important role to play and we will just not sit down and allow personalities who have achieved so much to be ignored.
â€œI must tell you this that there are still a lot of things for Nigeria to do to take their proper position in sports administration. Quite frankly,Â I think Nigeria has put so much into sports especially into footballÂ that the administration of the game should be better than what we have nowâ€, he stated.
On the issue of corruption, he said â€œwe are talking only about referees. I can assure you thatÂ I can challenge those who claim that Nigerian referees are the most corrupt and most incompetent in Africa.Â Those who are in the Referee Committee of FIFA and CAF have not been fair to Nigeria whatsoever. This is much I can say. One is not going to really say that our referees have not made mistakes, they are human beings. Some of them may have made some mistakes but no one would accept that Nigerian referees are the most corrupt in the worldâ€, he insisted.